'Rage, Fear, Love' a compelling thriller
Misfit of Films' latest feature, "Rage, Fear, Love," might be its most compelling yet. The film easily transports the audience into a series of events that induce suspense and fear, provide a subtle comedic factor, and, most of all, keep the audience longing for more at the end.
Following the life of an art rep who longs for nothing more than a divorce from his cheating wife, Walter Breen commissions a horrific painting of his wife, causing a domino effect of intense life-or-death situations and anticipation throughout the film.
Walter Breen is the key, an integral component that takes Ester Breen and Bluster Dahbro on the worst days of their lives. Ester Breen, portrayed by Victoria Yap, is a woman severely lacking in the morals department, marrying Walter only for his money while enjoying a life with her boyfriend, Peter, on the side.
Ester is the first victim of Walter's wrath, experiencing near-death moments repeatedly throughout the film. In pure thriller fashion, Peter is conveniently around to save Esther each time, leading the audience to question the validity of his love and if he could genuinely be the one behind the acts.
It's a puzzle that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats until the end.
Yap begins the film in a bit of a rut, not quite finding her footing with the character. However, after the first act, she quickly finds a suitable rhythm and ends up being a favorite of mine. She excels in the vulnerable moments and her portrayal of dread and uncertainty.
Bluster Dahbro, portrayed by Ronald Calzolari, is the artist commissioned to create the horrific painting of Ester and the second victim of Walter's wrath. Dahbro deals with an overflow of hate online for the commissioned portrait, leading to his insecurities flaring. Bluster is a narcissistic, neurotic mess who only thinks about himself and needs to be loved by others.
Dahbro slowly loses it throughout the film as he presses Breen to return the painting and help revive his name to the masses. His trickling decline as the film progresses provides ample opportunity for Calzolari to show off his impeccable range, and he doesn't disappoint.
The nuanced deliverances by Ronald Calzolari and Victoria Yap, stars on the rise, and the compelling abstract portraits at the film's highlight make it another hit. And with its selection for multiple film festivals in its early days, there's no reason why the film shouldn't find success in festivals far and wide.
"Rage, Fear, Love" also features one of the most hilarious scenes throughout Misfits of Films' entire discography with nothing more than deodorant containers and the talent of Calzolari. It's apparent from his portrayal that he spent a lot of time studying and working on emulating the angst of a tortured artist.
Finding talent like Calzolari is like finding a needle in a haystack. The determination, commitment, and ability to convey deeper meaning behind a character that rarely shares the screen with others are just a few qualities that will help the actor cement a name for himself later in his career.
"Rage, Fear, Love" is a low-budget film shot in just a matter of 4 days, and there are a few moments that reflect that, but as a whole, it feels grander thanks to the authenticity and substance of the actors attached to the project.
This film may be Professor Jenkins' most nuanced project yet, with the underlying themes of depravity spread throughout and illustrious writing that keeps the audience engaged and asking questions.