August 16, 2018 Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks (Movie Review)
Gravitas Ventures will be releasing Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks in New York and Los Angeles cinemas on August 17th, 2018, and then On Demand from September 4th, 2018 onwards. Here, Producer and Lead Actor Kristin Slaysman (The Promised Land 2012, Masters of Sex 2013) works alongside her husband, Josh Crockett (The Cleanse 2016, Tag 2018), who directed the film. Crockett also had a hand in the writing of the film, alongside Jonathan Pappas (Francisville 2015, Dogsbody 2016).
But what did they write together? Just a Dark Comedy about death, drama and family relations. The titular Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks were renowned aid workers who ended up dying in a plane crash, and when their estranged children Michelle (Slaysman) and Marcus (Scott Rodgers: The Dramatics 2015, Accommodations 2018) come back for the funeral, they end up with more than they bargained for.
Crockett has directed many short films via the Explosive Bolts label, but this is his first feature-length film at 86 minutes. Did it work out for him, or should he go back to the shorts?
Well, for one thing, it is not a madcap, skit-based Comedy. It is more of a Drama-Comedy with flawed characters ending up in awkward spots; so, it is less Ben Stiller and more Wes Anderson. Marcus and Michelle care little for each other, and less for their late parents – or at least it seems that way. It is a complicated situation- almost as complicated as the legal trouble the two have inherited from Mommy and Daddy dearest.
Marcus just wants to clear up ownership of the house with his wife Alex (Ashley Spillers: Last Vegas 2013, War Dogs 2016), but instead he ends up with almost everything but that – be it his parents’ clothes, ornaments or pets. Meanwhile Michelle is looking for love – sans strings or otherwise – in the wrong places; like with uncle-in-law Bill Tully (Robert Longstreet: Sorry to Bother You 2018, The Old Man & The Gun 2018). So, it is not big on belly-laughs. It is more like cringe-humour, but in a good way; the kind where the audience simultaneously dreads the consequences but wants to see what happens. No ‘gangsta robots’ or bad puns in sight.
The acting is good too. Rodgers does a convincing job as a man on the brink, pressured by his sister, family and the world at large. He has good chemistry with Spillers and Slaysman, who also turn in strong performances. Slaysman particularly stands out, as her character seemingly flitters into trouble but has her own issues laying under a translucent surface. It sends some sparks flying once they clash with the other characters, and makes for the film’s strongest scenes.
The camerawork and editing are smooth and steady too, following the action while rarely missing a beat. It is largely functional, since story is carried mostly by the acting and writing, but there are a few sequences where the camerawork makes the scene. For example, a certain bar scene uses the camera to frame Marcus’ feelings; there is funny dialogue, but it is essentially in the background. The mood is all in the zoom and in suppressed frustration, and this makes for a nice touch. Furthermore, this is all backed by a folksy soundtrack, full of warbling vocals backed by plucked, acoustic strings and shaken tambourines. If one has seen 2018’s Krystal, or most Indie Comedy flicks, in general, then one knows what to expect.
So overall, it is a good Drama-Comedy that will elicit some chuckles and tears. It can be a slow burner though, as its strongest parts begin from the middle rather than the beginning. Ultimately, it is a bittersweet tale of handling grief and strained relations that is worth checking out if one fancies a pull on the heartstrings while smiling. Thus, for these reasons, CrypticRock gives Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks 4 out of 5 stars.