Thursday, September 03, 2020

Fantasia '20: For the Sake of Vicious Takes a Wild Ride Through a Kitchenette: A Film Review

*full disclosure: access to the online Fantasia Film Festival was provided by the fine folks at the festival.

Directors/writers: Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen.

Cast: Lora Burke, Nick Smyth, Colin Paradine and T.J. Kennedy.

For the Sake of Vicious had its World Premiere at this year's Fantasia Film Festival. A Canadian film, from filmmakers Gabriel Carrer (The Demolisher) and Reese Eveneshen (Defective), this indie title brings a biker gang into a tiny kitchen for a vigilante beatdown. Carrer's synth' score helps amplify some of the film's tension. Meanwhile, the pacing only takes off near the final half hour. In the meantime, the film's topic is a bit dire and early scenes are constrained by the simple setting. For the Sake of Vicious will entertain a few patient indie thriller fans out there.

The story could have used a bit more meat on the bone. However, the film is centered on a father's desire for revenge. Chris' wife has been cheating on him and his daughter has suffered unspeakable acts. Now, Chris (Nick Smyth) has his accused where he wants him, tied up in a chair. Unfortunately, Alan (Colin Paradine) won't really move from this position for the next fourty-five minutes or so. Accusations go back and forth, with very little being resolved. Then, Alan's rescue team arrives - in the form of the "Splitting Skulls." The violence finally moves out of the kitchen and into the bathroom, with this viewer hoping for a few more surprises.

Still, Carrer's score helps amplify the action on-screen. His synth' sounds are consistent throughout the film and offers a bit of menace. The music is composed in such a way as to synch' with the events happening in the film. But, can a score hoist a film, on its own?

The Masked Villains Remain Mostly Mute.
The first fourty minutes of For the Sake of Vicious is fairly slow. Character development is minimal and there are no real subplots here. Instead, there is this back and forth between Chris and Alan as one character professes his innocence, while the other denies it. If you are going to kidnap and torture someone, you might want to be sure you have the right man. At the fourty minute mark, the pacing switches gears with the introduction of the biker gang. The film finishes out with a bit of flourish. But, the payoff might not be enough for some viewers.

The setting is also very constrained - to one room. Almost the entire first half of the film takes place in a tiny kitchen, with three characters. There is really only one series of exterior shots to break up the monotony of the kitchen. This setting gets a bit repetitive as character Romina (Lora Burke) referees the antagonism between Chris and Alan. And, almost the entire feature is shot in one house, so there is no way for the camera to bring many surprises here, in such a small space. Even the finale takes place in a small bathroom. So, there are no real lighting effects that can take place, outside of a string of Halloween lights. Almost everything within For the Sake of Vicious comes across as being hemmed in and the opposite of expansive.

The Fantasia Film Festival is sadly coming to a close this week (September 2nd). For the Sake of Vicious is closing out the show with a bit of a bang. Filmmakers Carrer and Eveneshen try and push their story with everything they have. But, the film comes across as very indie and there are only a couple of humourous moments, one involving a mid-fight Vodka shot. The plot only moves along by inches, in the first half of the film. The second half offers a flourish of choreographed action and Carrer's musical score resonates well with the film. Still, this viewer was hoping for more from the story and For the Sake of Vicious can only cook up so much in its cramped quarters.

Overall: 6.5 out of 10.

For the Sake of Vicious at Fantasia: For the Sake of Vicous Details at Fantasia

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