House On Rodeo Gulch Poster

Having lived all over the world as a Navy brat, William Scherer grew up mostly in the Washington DC area and went to college at the Virginia Military Institute. Upon graduation he received an Officer’s commission in the Army where he spent three years with the 82d Airborne Division as an Airborne/Ranger. Having done theater in high school, his nights were spent at the Fort Bragg playhouse where he had many leads.

Upon leaving the Army, Bill travelled to Hollywood where he got involved in TV and Movie industry. He has acted in movies and theatre with Academy Award winner George C. Scott, Dorothy Lamour, Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Carol Burnett, Helen Hunt among others but it was behind the camera that most fascinated him the most. There he was able to learn his photographic craft from some of Hollywood’s most celebrated directors and cinematographers like Academy Award winner, Robert Wise. The first script he wrote, a TV comedy pilot, got him signed with one of the top agencies in Los Angeles and was bought by Universal Studios which got him into the WGAW. He is also a member of SAG and AEA.

Bill eventually relocated north to Central California where he raised a family, and became involved in numerous business and media projects. Having learned to fly in the Army, he acquired an airplane and quickly became one of the leading Fine Art Aerial photographers in the country (See: www.WilliamSchererPhotography.com). As Bill explains. “There’s something fulfilling about shooting Fine Art Photography while flying 100 mph, 300 feet off the ground.” Along the way in his spare time, he set three World Land Speed records on his Kawasaki ZX-14 motorcycle at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats where he went 200 mph.

A movie maker at heart, Bill continued writing and developing story-lines for full length features. After completing the script House on Rodeo Gulch, a psychological thriller, loosely based on personal experience involving a rental tenant-from-hell experience, Bill decided it was time to produce and direct. His vision was to create a compelling independent movie with the production values of multi-million dollar Hollywood production.

The film, inspired by some “tenants from hell” that he knew, is now available on Vimeo and next week hits Hulu and iTunes.

 

 

Some filmmakers, for one reason or another, are forced to direct films outside of their personal interests or preferred genre. Have you been lucky enough to only work within the genre, and your preferred type of film?

I don’t think a Director is ever “forced” to work outside his or her interests in these modern times. In the old days, Hollywood studios had actors and directors under contract and could tell them what to do. Today, an independent Director would be glad to land a picture whether it’s in their genre or not. If the subject of the movie bothers them then they aren’t true Directors. Like an actor, Directors should always seek other genres to challenge their minds and help improve their craft.

 

How long did it take to put together the film – in terms of scripting, financing and casting – before shooting it?

It took approximately two years to write “House on Rodeo Gulch” and casting about three months. I live in a small surfing town called Santa Cruz where there aren’t many actors in the area much less actors that have film experience. Eventually I had to open it up to actors in LA and San Francisco area. The hardest part to cast was the young teenage girl, Shani. I needed a pretty girl that looked 16 but had to be over 18 so she could drive. She also had to have a fiery temper and be a great actor with a lot of acting experience as she was one of the leads. She also couldn’t be afraid of shooting a gun as she was the “Texas State Junior Pistol Champion” in the script. I searched all the local high schools but could find no one close. Expanding my search, I took to the casting websites but found it hard to ask someone to drive two hours for a 15 minute interview. About to give up, I received a phone call from a young fifteen year old girl, Megan Jay Simrell, from Palo Alto which is roughly two hours away. She sent me two bad pictures over the internet and we set up a meeting. Her parents brought her to my house and she read for me. The reading was somewhat rough but I knew I had the girl I was looking for. She had no acting experience except for being an extra in two small films but I knew Megan was a diamond in the rough. She reminded me of a young Jennifer Lawrence with her power, timing and humor. I hired her immediately and now, after having worked together, expect Megan to become a major film star. With the release of “House on Rodeo Gulch” now out, I expect her to get noticed very soon.

 

How long has it been since it was completed?

We had a small premiere here in Santa Cruz on July 22 so it’s only been out about a month.

 

Is the film indicative of your original vision for it?

The film is what I envisioned when I wrote it and am very proud of it. Of course our budget was limited so I had to cut some corners but I think a true filmmaker should be able to do a good job with what he or her  has. The same goes with editing. Find a way to edit what you have and don’t rely on reshooting scenes months later.

 

Did you have to trim much from it in the editing room?

“House on Rodeo Gulch” first cut came out at around 125 minutes. I had a difficult time getting it down to under 100 minutes because I had to cut some of the scenes I was most proud of. They were scary and the visual effects were terrific but in the end I had to ask myself “does the scene really advance the story” and most of the time the answer was no.

 

How much say did you have in how the film was marketed?

Since I am the producer I call all the shots. I read a lot about other filmmakers, how they handled their movies and learned from it. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. I’ve found that most artists have a hard time promoting their work but having been in sales a number of years I don’t find it that difficult and sometimes even exciting.

 

Do you get to approve poster artwork?

Yes I do. I’ve created two posters for “House on Rodeo Gulch”. The first one was fine but when I went to the American Film Market last September to find a Sales Agent, I spoke with a number of distributors who told me they didn’t like it and told me why which made a lot of sense. My poster was immediately changed and now I’m very happy with it.

 

Have you been lucky enough to work with a distributor that involves you in the entire process – right up until release?

I don’t have a distributor at the time but do have a sales agent who handles it internationally. I’m marketing the film on VOD which is what I initially wanted to do. It’s currently on Vimeo on Demand and will come out next week on I-tunes and Hulu. To find out more about the movie, one can go to our website at www.HouseonRodeoGulch.com

 

 

Who did you originally intend the film for and have you discovered another segment or demographic that – maybe even to your surprise – enjoys the film just as much?

I wrote the script because I like tough women and movies that make you think. I also know that when you spend so much time writing and rewriting a script it has to be story that excites you yourself. I’m a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock and wanted to incorporate some of his story elements. Also knowing that major ticket buyers are 16-24 year old males also helped in the preparation. “House on Rodeo Gulch” was created as a commercial movie and not necessarily one for film festivals.

 

Hollywood movies don’t put enough women in the leading roles and I think they should. I like tough woman that are put in challenging situations to see how they overcome adversity. Since the movie has been released I’ve been blessed with great reviews and many women and even senior citizens have told me how much they liked it. I’m excited that I’m appealing to all age groups.

 

 

VOD or theater. Where, if you had your choice, would you prefer your movies – not just this latest one, but all of them – be seen?

Obviously every filmmaker wants to see his movie on the big silver screen but with changing times and better living room TV setups, that is not the future. If you’re an independent filmmaker and do get distribution, it is likely you may not see any money down the road unless they give you a lump sum up front like at the winners of Sundance. By going VOD, you see the actual number of sales and get the true numbers on what your film is making. It will also be watched by thousands of more people than if it had been played in movie theaters.

 

Where do you think the future is headed as far as film distribution is concerned?

The Studios are hurting with VOD and they are the first to admit it. People don’t want to pay $80 for a family of four to see a movie when they can watch the same film in their living room, have real butter on their popcorn, not sit through commercials nor next to people with open cell phones and all for $4.99? It’s a no brainer.

The Studios know they can make the big budget projects with a lot of CGI and that’s the direction they’re heading. They also know in most movies that “sound is half the movie” so they’re putting elaborate sound systems inside theaters. Fortunately today’s living rooms are also getting better with systems such as 7.1 surround sound.

 

 

Do all these extra channels and platforms open doors for indie filmmakers?

I think they’re great for indie filmmakers and I’d like to see more of them.

 

If your movie was an answer to a question in a trivia contest what would you like the question to be?

What big low budget hit was Megan Jay Simrell’s first movie?

Anti Matter Poster

 

Keir Burrows’ Anti Matter – available in most territories now, with a US release due in September – talks about the film’s beginnings, the ‘interesting’ approach to marketing the movie in different countries, and where he thinks the future of film distribution is headed.

 

Some filmmakers, for one reason or another, are forced to direct films outside of their personal interests or preferred genre. Have you been lucky enough to only work within the genre, and your preferred type of film?

Well, so far anyway, everything we’ve done – six shorts and one feature – we’ve gotten going on our own steam, y’know? I write and direct, my wife produces, so I’m telling exactly the stories I want to tell. It’s not a genre thing I don’t think. Anti Matter is hard sci-fi but none of the shorts were. My next two feature films, neither are sci-fi (one is horror, one’s a drama). So yeah, best-case scenario is I keep making my own films, my own stories. If the opportunity came along to work on something else, a franchise or a pre-existing material, I’d look at it carefully and see how or what I would be able to bring my own stories on.

 

 

How long did it take to put together the film – in terms of scripting, financing and casting – before shooting it?

Anti Matter started out as a short film script called Worm that I wrote around 2011. I never shot it as a short, I had other things that were better or easier to do at the time, I can’t remember now. A year later I turned it into a feature. Then spent a couple years developing the script, looking for finance. Once we decided, early 2014 I think, that we were going to up and do it with our own resources, it was then like an 8 month process, prepping everything, before we started. Remember, we were fitting this in around day jobs, a new child, it was very much a part time thing then. We began filming end of 2014. Taking advice from Chris Nolan, on the way he made his first film, Following, we broke the shoot up into a dozen small chunks – so we shot over almost a year, doing a day here, a weekend there. We did one big block, 13 days, for all the lab stuff.

 

 

How long has it been since it was completed?

Interesting question, I haven’t had that one yet. So… very last piece of footage was captured in August 2015. We had a very rough edit done by October. But then to get to the final edit, grade, VFX, sound mix… That final film was ready, maybe July 2016. We got our distribution deals in place by September 2016. It came out in the UK in July 2017, and in the US September 2017. Long process!

 

Is the film indicative of your original vision for it?

Also a good question. Nice one. It definitely exceed my expectations. I mean that as modestly as I can – we set out boldly, ambitiously, but also realistically. Imagining we would stumble through, it was as much about just making something as it was about what the final thing would be. When we actually had that first cut, and it wasn’t just coherent but, at least we thought so anyway, kind of good, I was over the moon. It had no right to be good, we had no money, no help, it should have sucked. So it’s better than I expected. Beyond that, yes, it’s close to how I imagined it. Probably weirder, more colourful, more graphic novel – than I set it out to be, I thought I’d be making something dry as a circuit board, like Primer. It’s a more strange thing than I expected.

 

Did you have to trim much from it in the editing room?

Yes indeed. Loads. First full cut of the film was 2h13m, final cut is half an hour shorter, 1h45m. That’s quite a lot – and it was only a few small scenes that went, so most of the trimming was taking out superfluous dialogue across the board.

 

 

How much say did you have in how the film was marketed?

None at all! No, the distributors make all the decisions on that, on a project at this level. It’s been interesting. Mostly we’ve been very happy, they have taken our concerns on board. The trailers have been great. But you know, in the UK the main art, posters and DVD etc, it has our actress Yaiza made out to be a robot, when there are no robots in the film at all. And in the US, they had her making skyscrapers explode, which also… isn’t a thing in the film. So it’s been a learning curve. But I’m easy. Fun to watch what people do with it.

 

Do you get to approve poster artwork?

As above! Ha, no.

 

Have you been lucky enough to work with a distributor that involves you in the entire process – right up until release?

Uncork’d in the US have been great, definitely. I mean we’re first-time filmmakers, we didn’t know what to expect, hardly know our arse from elbow. They’ve been great, honest and open and explained the process, answered all our dumb questions. It’s been good. Again, a fantastic learning process.

 

Who did you originally intend the film for and have you discovered another segment or demographic that – maybe even to your surprise – enjoys the film just as much?

I’ll have to get back to on this – film isn’t out yet in the US so we’re only beginning to get feedback, find out who is watching it.

 

VOD or theater. Where, if you had your choice, would you prefer your movies – not just this latest one, but all of them – be seen?

Ha, I can’t imagine there’s a single filmmaker who won’t answer theater to this question. It’s what you want. The big screen experience. If you’re making something for VOD only, it’s not cinema any more, it’s TV, TV movies. If that sounds snobby, it’s not meant as that, getting an audience is better than nothing, by a long shot. But I’m sure we all got in to this work because we love sitting in that big dark room watching cowboys, or monsters, or people fall in love, on a 40 foot screen. That’s where you want to be.

 

Where do you think the future is headed as far as film distribution is concerned?

We’re obsessed with change at the moment, with ‘disruption’ – it’s such an ingrained part of our business culture now that we expect it, we can’t imagine it not happening. But I just don’t see huge change ahead. Movies will still open in cinemas. DVDs will ever more be replaced by VOD but it’s ultimately a similar thing, just a different delivery system. I guess with VOD it’s good as cost to entry is far lower, and your reach is immediately massive, global. The downside being you’re competing against so many others. But if you love film, you’ll celebrate that, good stuff should rise to the top. But my thoughts are, ten, twenty years, it’s all going to be much the same as it is now. There isn’t a revolution on the horizon.

 

Do all these extra channels and platforms open doors for indie filmmakers?

Yes of course – as explained above.

 

If your movie was an answer to a question in a trivia contest what would you like the question to be?

Is there more to us than just matter?

Death Waits For No Man Poster

 

The Postman Always Rings Twice meets Drive in writer-director Armin Siljkovic’s neon-doused indie noir-thriller Death Waits for No Man.

Expected to release late 2017/early 2018, it’s the unnerving and complex chronicle of a neon art collector that seduces a lone drifter into killing her abusive husband.

Black SailsAngelique Pretorius headlines a cast that includes Bradley Snedeker, Corey Rieger and Travis Myers.

 

Some filmmakers, for one reason or another, are forced to direct films outside of their personal interests or preferred genre. Have you been lucky enough to only work within the genre, and your preferred type of film?

For this film, yeah, I guess you can say I was lucky. I wrote and directed and edited the film, so it’s definitely a film that I wanted to make and a story that I wanted to tell.

 

How long did it take to put together the film – in terms of scripting, financing and casting – before shooting it?

It took about a year to write and rewrite the script, then we spent probably another year finding the funding for the film. During that time, I started on some of the pre-production, like storyboards, the cast, etc.

 

How long has it been since it was completed?

It’s only been about six months since Death Waits For No Man was completed, so it’s still very fresh in my mind.

 

Is the film indicative of your original vision for it?

It is. No film is exactly how you pictured it in your head when writing it, but I’m happy with the way the film came out.

 

Did you have to trim much from it in the editing room?

Yeah, sometimes certain things have to be trimmed for pacing reasons, other things you trim because it didn’t work as well as it did on the page. This is quite common in films — you never really know 100% how things cut together until you’re in the editing room.

 

How much say did you have in how the film was marketed?

We just started the marketing process with a great team who are working hard to get the word out, and it’s interesting to be a part of and participate in this side of the film.

 

Do you get to approve poster artwork?

I did, I think we got a great poster artwork that captures the look and feel of the film.

 

Have you been lucky enough to work with a distributor that involves you in the entire process – right up until release?

We’re just started looking for a distributor through our sales agent, so I’ll have more on that in the future.

 

Who did you originally intend the film for and have you discovered another segment or demographic that – maybe even to your surprise – enjoys the film just as much?

I originally assumed that the core audience would be people who are into thrillers and film noir. But judging from the screenings we’ve had so far, I think the film reaches a wider audience whom I didn’t expect would enjoy a film like this.

 

VOD or theater. Where, if you had your choice, would you prefer your movies – not just this latest one, but all of them – be seen?

I think every filmmaker wants their film to be shown on the big screen in front of an audience. Sometimes that’s not possible, but the good news is that with platforms like Netflix, a small indie film can reach a far greater audience than ever before.

 

Where do you think the future is headed as far as film distribution is concerned?

I think it’ll continue in the direction it’s headed now: more films will premiere on streaming services like Netflix, but I think people will still go to the theater to watch movies on the big screen. That’s just something you can’t get at home, no matter how great your home theater is.

 

Do all these extra channels and platforms open doors for indie filmmakers?

I think they do. I think ultimately, it’s good for indie filmmakers: they have more platforms than every before and can reach a bigger audience than ever before.

Australia Day

 

Thanks to Icon Film Distribution we have a very special pack to giveaway to celebrate the release of the great new Australian film Australia Day in cinemas.

Directed by Kriv Stenders (Red Dog, Boxing DayAustralia Day tells the stories of events that occur on a sweltering Australia Day in Brisbane, when the worlds of three young people collide. Indigenous teen April (Miah Madden), young Chinese woman Lan (Jenny Wu), and Iranian-Australian boy, Sami (Elias Anton), are desperate and on the run.

As each of their stories unfold, a farmer (Bryan Brown), an Indigenous policewoman (Shari Sebbens) and homicide detective (Matthew Le Nevez) are also swept into a whirlpool of violence, racism and resentment. Provocative and illuminating, AUSTRALIA DAY offers a fascinating take on national identity and the pulsing dark heart of ‘the lucky country’. In cinemas 21st September.

For your chance to win this Australia Drama Prize Pack valued at $65, which contains 1 double pass to Australia Day and DVD copies of The Black Balloon, Last Cab To Darwin, Little Fish and Rabbit Proof Fence or the runner-up prize of a double pass to Australia Day simply head onto our Facebook or Twitter page and send us a private message naming one of the stars of Australia Day.

 

Australia Day_Prize Pack_Admit2+DVD

It Poster

Summary: A group of bullied kids band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.

Year: 2017

Australian Cinema Release Date: 7th September 2017

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Andy Muschietti

Screenwriter: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman, Stephen King (novel)

Cast: Mollie Jane Atkinson (Sonia Kasprak), Stephen Bogaert (Mr. Marsh), Joe Bostick (Mr. Keene), Megan Charpentier (Gretta), Ari Cohen (Rabbi Uris), Neil Crone (Chief Borton), Pip Dwyer (Sharon Denbrough), Sonia Gascon (Mrs. Ripsom), Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie Kaspbrak), Nicholas Hamilton (Henry Bowers), Stuart Hughes (Officer Bowers), Chosen Jacobs (Mike Hanlon), Tatum Lee (Judith), Jaeden Lieberher (Bill Denbrough), Sophia Lillis (Beverly Marsh), Katie Lunman (Betty Ripsom), Wyatt Oleff (Stanley Uris), Geoffrey Pounsett (Zach Denbrough), Elizabeth Saunders (Mrs. Starret), Jackson Robert Scott (Georgie Denbrough), Jake Sim (Belch Huggins), Bill Skarsgard (Pennywise), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben Hanscom), Owen Teague (Patrick Hockstetter), Logan Thompson (Victor Criss), Anthony Ulc (Joe The Butcher), Kelly Van der Burg (Abigail), Steven Williams (Leroy Hanlon), Finn Wolfhard (Richie Tozier)

Runtime: 135 mins

Classification: MA15+

OUR IT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths:

 

Horror fans have had a bit of a mixed bag over the last couple of years. Films like Lights Out and Don’t Speak seemed to suggest that production companies were starting to realise that mainstream horror fans wanted a little bit more grunt when it came to the horrors that were hitting cinemas screens. But then came Annabelle: Creation and Get Out which went back to the tired old, too lame, too tame style of mainstream horror that had been disappointing horror fans for years. It was almost a toss-up on what the remake of Stephen King’s classic tale It would be. Would they take it down the tame horror lane or would they want to take a chance and really impress fans. The good news is that the latter is the case as director Andy Muschietti (Mama, Historias Breves 3) brings back a welcome dose of nastiness to mainstream horror.

This version of It is told through the eyes of the children of Derry. Headed by Bill (Jaeden Lieberher – St. Vincent, Midnight Special) whose younger brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott – Skin, Criminal Minds) is the latest child to go missing in the town a group of youngsters starts to piece together the puzzle that has been haunting the town for generations. Bill wants to spend the summer with his friends searching for Georgie and dodging the local bullies but when the troubled Beverly (Sophia Lillis – The Garden, 37) starts to have some terrifying experiences that they can all see and the new kid in town Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor – Ant-Man, Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip) delivers his theory about an evil hitting the town every 27 years all the pieces of the puzzle starts to fall into place.

Soon it becomes obvious that a deadly clown called Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard – Simple Simon, Atomic Blonde) is behind everything and the group of friends which also includes Richie (Finn Wolfhard – Stranger Things, Sonara), Mike (Chosen Jacobs – Cops And Robbers, Hawaii Five-O), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer – Tales Of Halloween, Beautiful Boy) and Stanley (Wyatt Oleff – Guardians Of The Galaxy, Once Upon A Time) have to overcome their fears and face them head on.

To be honest we probably haven’t seen a director take such a chance with a remake since Rob Zombie worked his magic on Halloween. With It Muschietti has delivered a completely different film to what we have seen with any adaption of It previously. He takes Stephen King’s tale and turns it into a coming age of film… and a damn fine at that. These kids aren’t your stereotypical ‘film kids.’ First he’s got kids that aren’t your average ‘child model’ actor and then has them speaking the way you would expect them to, yes parents kids do use the f**k word, and has given them each their own unique personality, which comes in handy as their fears come to the surface, rather than just simply having all the kids act exactly the same way. And while I’m sure some critics will question the scene with the kids sitting around their underwear but to me it brought a real natural feel to the film.

That natural feel also comes through in other ways throughout the film. Going back to the novel and giving the main character a stutter again makes the film feel incredibly natural and the fact that the team of screenwriters who worked on the film also saw fit to bring in controversial storylines such as child abuse only grounds the film even more in the real world. It would have been very easy to give the kids simple fears such as spiders and what not but to take it that step further and actually introduce things, like child abuse and bullying, that sadly some kids have to go through in their lives is something that not many people would have expected the script to have done.

Of course the best part of what Muschietti has done with this version of It is to remember that he is actually making a horror film and that it is more than okay to actually deliver some horror. Yes there are confronting moments of teens having to get violent with baseball bats, but realistically what are they to do when they are going into battle evil. Muschietti also doesn’t fall into the trap that so many horror filmmakers do and decide to rest his laurels on jump scares to get at his audience, instead he creates truly horrific moments that are really going to impress the hardened horror fans out there.

When looking at the cast you just have to say that the kids do  an amazing job as an ensemble. Having said that though Jaeden Liebehrer and Sophia Lillis do put in performances well and truly beyond their years though. Aside from the terrifying scenes with Pennywise these two youngsters have to conjure up the emotions that a teenager would be feeling after losing a sibling or being sexually abused by their father. No doubt both actors had to go to some pretty dark places in order to tap into that and both need to be congratulated. Billy Skarsgard also does an amazing job playing Pennywise and hopefully if they are able to do the sequel set twenty-seven years into the future that they are able to retain him.

Andy Muschietti has delivered one spectacular horror film with It. The harshness of the horror will keep fans happy while the characterisation and coming-of-age storyline is a welcome change to what could have been. Group that together with a great soundtrack, sadly no Pennywise on it though, and what we are left with is a horror remake that far exceeds what anyone expected for it.

Stars(4)

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: 

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Wakefield Reviews: Nil

Trailer:

Wakefield Poster

Summary: A man’s nervous breakdown causes him to leave his wife and live in his attic for several months.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 6th September 2017

Country: USA

Director: Robin Swicord

Screenwriter: Robin Swicord, E.L. Doctorow (short story), Nathaniel Hawthorne (short story)

Cast: Pippa Bennett-Warner (Emily), Victoria Bruno (Taylor), Eliza Coleman (Gleaner), Bryan Cranston (Howard Wakefield), Beverley D’Angelo (Babs), Ian Anthony Dale (Ben Jacobs), Jennifer Garner (Diana Wakefield), Monica Lawson (Ellen), Issac Leyva (Herbert), Jason O’Mara (Dirk Morrison), Carinna Rossignoli (Young Taylor), Ellery Sprayberry (Giselle), Alexander Zale (Dr. Sondervan)

Runtime: 106 mins

Classification: TBC

OUR WAKEFIELD REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths:

 

Every now and then a role comes along that allows an actor to really show what they are capable of. Think of the sadly departed Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight or Sir Anthony Hopkins in The Silence Of The Lambs. That moment has now come for Bryan Cranston, a man who has shown that he has many talents in the acting game – from outrageous comedy in the hit Malcolm In The Middle through to award winning dramatic acting at its best in the cult favourite Breaking Bad. Now comes Wakefield, a dramatic film that sees Cranston at his very best – in a role that would stretch the abilities of any actor.

From director Robin Swicord (The Jane Austen Book Club, Red Coat) Wakefield sees Cranston (Argo, Drive) play Howard Wakefield, a man who feels like he is not appreciated by his beautiful wife, Diana (Jennifer Garner – Dallas Buyers Club, Juno) and their two daughters. When he arrives home late one night from work and sees his wife throwing out his dinner and not acting too ‘worried’ he decides to fake his own disappearance and watch her from the attic.

During this time Howard reflects on things like how he dishonestly gained Diana’s affections while she was actually dating his best friend Dirk Morrison (Jason O’Mara – One For The Money, Resident Evil: Extinction) while speculating what her intentions are with their handsome friend and colleague, Ben Jacobs (Ian Anthony Dale – The Hangover, The Bucket List) and also the plotting that is going on between her and her mother, Babs (Beverley D’Angelo – American History X, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation).

While the film doesn’t strive to be an intense thriller there is an air of suspense that remains throughout the film. Robin Swicord’s screenplay does leave the audience asking a lot of questions throughout the film which only enhances that suspense. While the synopsis of the film reads that these events follow from Howard having a nervous breakdown that is not always clear during the film and at times you find yourself wondering what kind of cruel husband/father could put their family through such a psychological game. That is only enhanced when you see what Howard was willing to do his best friend Dirk in order to win the affection of Diana.

To Swicord’s credit though she allows her audience to never truly hate Howard as she also shows his softer side by befriending the disabled teenagers from next door, Emily (Pippa Bennet-Warner – Harlots, Sick Note) and Herbert (Isaac Leyva – Any Day Now), when they seem to be shunned by the rest of the neighbourhood. The screenplay also allows a great insight into Howard’s mind with some well written, a never boring, monologues which are delivered throughout the film and by the time Howard’s stay in the attic hits winter and has a negative effect on his health we know that there is something seriously wrong with the man.

What sets Wakefield apart from the similar story in the great Australian film Tom White is the style. Swicord takes some pretty big risks in Wakefield, and luckily they all work. Having a lot of voiceover and monologues in a film has the real risk of boring the audience but that is never the case here and instead they become an impressive way for Howard to voice his thoughts to the audience. Likewise the fact that we see everything from Howard’s point-of-view, we rarely hear what Diana is saying to anyone throughout the film, gives a real one-sided view of events that only enhances how the audience warms to Howard despite his actions. Then of course there is the constant suspense throughout the film as the audience wonders what is going to happen when (if) Diana ever learns that Howard is living in the attic.

The great screenplay also allows for a brilliant acting performance from Bryan Cranston. Despite the prescience of Jennifer Garner and the occasional other actor in scenes this very much feels like a one-man movie. Cranston delivers monologues like a seasoned theatre actor while he uses body language and facial expressions amazingly well during scenes where Howard is all alone. The biggest battle for Cranston in this film is to make Howard likable to an audience where they are plainly seeing him psychologically torturing his family, and to his credit he does that remarkably well. This is an acting performance that deserves to be considered ‘one for the ages.’

The stylistic approach of Wakefield might mean this is a film not enjoyed by everybody but if you are a serious film lover who likes a good character driven film then this may well be a film that you will enjoy. An intriguing screenplay is only made better by a performance that shows the world just what a great talent Bryan Cranston really is.
Stars(4)

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating:  Wakefield (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Wakefield Reviews: Nil

Trailer:

The Dinner

Thanks to our good friends at Icon Distribution Subculture Entertainment is pleased to be able to giveaway two double passes to the brand new film The Dinner.

The brand new gritty drama stars the likes of Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, Primal Fear), Steve Coogan (Philomena, Tropic Thunder), Rebecca Hall (The Town, Iron Man 3), Laura Linney (Primal Fear, Mystic River) and Chloe Sevigny (Boys Don’t Cry, Big Love).

The Dinner will be released on the 7th September.

For your chance to win a double pass to The Dinner just private message us the answer to the question – in which romantic comedy does Julia Roberts and Richard Gere star in together – to either our Facebook or Twitter page.