Sunday, January 09, 2011

Solitary and Breaking Out of Confinement : A Movie Review

Director: Greg Derochie.

Writers: Greg Derochie and Charles Scalfani.

Solitary is an independent film from Formation Films, which is slated for a release March 29th, 2011. Osiris Entertainment will distribute and this film, from visual effects master Greg Derochie (Alice in Wonderland), is a suspenseful ride through one woman's constantly changing psyche. Reviewing this film and not giving away core details is difficult, but centrally this is a film of grief and coming to terms with the limits of medicine.

In brief and leaving out some of the major plot developments, Solitary finds an agoraphobic woman breaking down under the pressure of disturbing images. Her husband is missing and visions of a deceased child hint at her current state. A bird named Emily also gives clues to Sara's (Amber Jaeger) condition.

Richard Propes, the independent critic, correctly notices that his is not a true horror film, due to its absence of real scares and/or gore: "a psychological horror flick that works not because it throws blood and guts at the screen but because it doesn't." This film focuses on building tension and suspense, rather than the blood works. The attention to psychology is appreciated and this small flick will keep many viewers guessing until the final reels.

This is this reviewer's first exposure to actress Amber Jaeger (Shiloh Falls) and her subtle charms come through in quiet vulnerability, paranoia, and fear. Her character, Sara, does not really know if what she is seeing is a fantasy of her imagination or evidence of her poor and declining psychological state. These feelings and situations are reflected realistically through her characterizations and thankfully there is no over-acting here. The stylings and dramatisms of John Travolta in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and others would not be appropriate in this small budgeted feature.

Independent features often have the difficulties of finding financing to shoot complex scenes, or hiring high quality actors. Some of these challenges are minimized by confining Sara to a single set, while introducing a maximum of eight other actors. The writing gives reasons for the minimalism of the production and the solutions are satisfactory. Camera techniques, the aforementioned acting, and creative, exploratory storytelling still remain, as some of the crew opted for a portion of the film's return rather than a salary (Independent Critic).

So, the film is professional and mystery is what will hook your attention. Has Sara passed into the afterlife? Has she completely lost her marbles? Or is her paranoia justified? This reviewer will not ruin the film for those reading, but consciousness takes many forms in Solitary. Those watching will need to be fully aware, too.

As of January 8th, 2011 Osiris Entertainment has not announced how this feature will be released e.g. DVD, theatrical. However, this film has already won a "New Visions Award" from the Cinequest Film Festival and an "Audience Award" from the Big Bear Lake Film Festival. There is quality here and your time would be well spent in Greg Derochie's and Charles Scalfani's thrilling creation.

Coming in only a few months, fans of M. Night Shyamalan's early works e.g. Signs will find some enjoyment here. Others looking for Eli Roth's latest comedic bloodbath will be disappointed and hopefully this critique has not given away too many secrets from the film. For the mystery of Solitary is its greatest strength.

Overall: 8 out of 10 (-1 for some repetition in sets, but accounted for -.5 for a slightly ambivalent ending, -.5 for some overly ordinary camera usage).

*filmed with Sony's Red One Camera (Independent Critic).

A second informative review of this title can be found at the Independent Critic:

Richard Propes Review of Solitary

A full trailer for this feature can be found at the Solitary official website:

The Solitary Official Website

Become a fan of this film on Facebook and support creative filmmaking:

Solitary Updates on FB

The film at Osiris Entertainment w/trailer:

Solitary as an OE Upcoming Release

Dark Mirror is a film that deals with similar themes to Solitary e.g. fantasy - reality, but the film reviewed here is the superior of the two. A review of Dark Mirror can be read on Yahoo! Dark Mirror Review:

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