June 22, 2018 Distorted (Movie Review)
Smart technology has come a long way since the creation of the Smartphone; spreading to both vehicles and homes. Now, people can lock or even start their cars with a cell phone, or how about having every function of your home controlled by a remote or the push of a button? There is no doubt that with smart technology comes equally advanced security measures intended to safeguard its owners, but the reality is that technologically advanced systems such as these actually leave individuals at risk, more exposed, and susceptible to hacking and cyber attacks.
Distorted is the Canadian Action, Mystery, Thriller set to release in Theaters and On Demand Friday, June 22, 2018 via Minds Eye International. It was written by Arne Olsen (Repeaters 2010, Here’s to Life! 2000) and directed by Rob King (Something More 1999, The Humanity Bureau 2017). The film was produced by Bridgegate Pictures and Minds Eye Entertainment. In addition to the film’s commendable writing and direction, it also employed a great cast that helped give life to a film that could have just as easily been dead in the water.
The film featured Christina Ricci (Z: The Beginning of Everything series, Sleepy Hollow 1999) as the bipolar and paranoid Lauren Curran; John Cusack (Say Anything 1989, High Fidelity 2000) as investigative journalist Vernon Sarsfield; Brendan Fletcher (The Revenant 2015, The Killing series) as concerned husband Russell Curran; and Vicellous Shannon (The Hurricane 1999, 24 TV series) as curious neighbor Phillip Starks; among others. Besides utilizing a more than capable cast, this movie also incorporated an interesting, albeit not entirely original, storyline.
Distorted tells the story of a young couple, Lauren (Ricci) and Russel (Fletcher) Curran who seem to have suffered a loss that, at first, is only depicted in flashes like a nightmare in Lauren’s mind. Experiencing symptoms associated with PTSD, Lauren feels her safety has been compromised and that she and her husband must move to a location that makes her feel more secure. Luckily enough, there is an isolated, luxury apartment complex known as The Pinnacle, which guarantees the latest technology to ensure residents’ safety and security. Upon moving in, though, Lauren starts to realize that something very strange is going on in this building, something that is causing people to behave bizarrely and far out of their character (including her). She then enlists the help of investigative journalist Vernon Sarsfield (Cusack) to help her determine what exactly is going on at this perceived utopian complex.
The intro was a visually striking montage of imagery that helped lure viewers in like a moth to a fire, before laying down a story that packed a little less heat. The performances were great, with Ricci appearing as a bright spot in a dark room, but there was little that left the film truly memorable.
The cinematography was handled with great care, and shots were framed very nicely, but the execution of an interesting plot left far too much to be desired. Playing on the recurring fear that Big Brother is always watching, and that even the most advanced technology can be easily manipulated to leave the most protected person feeling defenseless and weak, was an appreciated concept; yet it is not one that is exactly fresh and new. The security camera shots helped to reinforce the apartment’s complex security system, but it also denoted an uneasy feeling of constantly being watched.
The pacing was great with keeping viewers engaged and strung along to see just how it would end, but predictability was this film’s kryptonite. That is not to say that there were not redeeming qualities to this movie, or that its kryptonite makes it any less watchable – because it does not – but it was a factor that is holding back this film from potential greatness.
Could it be the work of government conspiracies? Maybe it is the result of medical experimentation? Is there some kind of grander, brainwashing scheme afoot? Whatever it is, it will leave viewers utterly distorted. With that being said, give it a go, as CrypticRock gives Distorted 3 out of 5 stars.