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New Review: The Quiet Arrangement

August 28, 2009

009 Rob @ WorkThe first thing one recognizes about The Quiet Arrangement is the sublime use of white noise. The film looks OK for an indie, but the filmmaker tests the patience of his audience with too many odd angles such as slightly askew close ups and long pans across an empty field as well as numerous dashboard shots and over the shoulder shots.

The Quiet Arrangement stars mostly new actors except for Kyle Jason who plays Rick Fields and a small cameo from Chuck D. Why you ask? Because filmmaker David Snyder works for SLAMjamz, Chuck D.’s record label/production company.

Focusing on four different perspectives of the same story, the film falls into four chapters surrounding the disappearance of the wife of attorney Walter Briggs. The first chapter we see what is occurring through Briggs, then in chapter two we meet Mr. Parks. In chapter three we meet Jack Simons and Carl Masterson, who appear to be cops and are perhaps the most likable of characters in the bunch. In the final chapter, we meet Rick Fields, who helps to complete the story.

But what the suspense hinges on is the wife. When we meet her in the fourth chapter, it is a letdown. Her performance is forced and unrealistic. Not to mention, from the first scene I couldn’t help but wonder how she would be married to Briggs. There never does appear to be any real concern on his part for her, nor hers for him, so why should we care?

Fields has an intriguing voice and look that make him believable, but the actress hurts the scene. Even after she explains her unhappy marriage to Briggs, I just can’t buy her performance as a drug addict who falls for her kidnapper.

Each of the four vignettes tie into each other with a similar scene from a different angle making the connection between them and most scenes appear to tie into the plot. One that doesn’t is a random masturbation scene that appears in the second chapter for no real reason other than what appears to be an effect at realism. The moment is not overly outrageous but sticks out for just being unnecessary to the story.

Otherwise, most other moments appear to all tie back to the first part of the story to explain the ending that we see early on. Where this worked for “Memento” due to being a novel concept, the premise just expects too much from its audience.

However, the pay off twist (s?) in the end is (are?) quite clever, even if somewhat expected from the set up of the story.

The film has played a few theaters in the Ohio and Pennsylvania and is currently seeking distribution.

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