review by Bobby Blakey
Some of the hardest films to watch sometimes are the simplest about real life. They are also often times the hardest to really get right because it relies on the cast performance more than anything else. The latest Mass looks to keep it simple with maximum impact starring Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney and Ann Dowd with Fran Kranz’ making his writing and directing debut.
Mass follows two sets of parents who agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart. I had no idea what this movie was about or who was in it going in and that kind of helped its impact. This isn’t an overly exciting film, but instead one that is all about the actor’s performance to make it work.
The entire film is set up and plays very much like a stage production with one set and a cast of four. There are a couple of others that come and go at the beginning and the end, but the meat of the movie is the two couples. I am kind of mixed on this one as it is filled with brilliant performances across the board and the story is impactful, but there is something that is off with it as a whole.
The initial set ups feel kind of uncomfortable and stretched out longer than need be with some by design. Once we finally get into the conflict between the two couples things flow with a mixed bag of emotions of anger, sadness, confusion, sympathy and everything in between. They are dealing with real life situations that offers up the views from both sides of the action to make a better rounded story.
Some may not like the way this film plays out due to dealing with real subject matter which might seem silly, but most want the escapism in movies and this is not that. This will also hit to close to home for some viewers and in turn be way more impactful, but that is kind of the point. It won’t work for everyone and I did enjoy the film and performances, but its also a film you will likely only watch once.
Decide for yourself and check out MASS when it hits theaters October 29th from Bleeker Street.