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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Freddy Rodriguez, Marley Shelton Make a Dark Stab At Love In New Short Film, "Mediation"

"MEDIATION" (2014)
Genre: Drama / Comedy
Length - 14:10
Company:  Top Rebel Productions
Website:  Official

Roman Lindo (Six Feet Under's Freddy Rodriguez) and his wife Victoria (Planet Terror and Pleasantville's Marley Shelton) attend a court appointed mediation session to try to iron out the details of their divorce.

That's when things get messy.

Very messy.

Check out the trailer online here, and then come back and read the review!

SHE LOVES ME . . .

"Mediation" is the latest short film from Spanish writer/director Francisco Lorite, known for his 2005 short film, "Cuco Gomez-Gomez Is Dead!"  It is the product of Top Rebel Productions, a film production company comprised of Lorite himself, Rodriguez, and producer Bill Winett.

If "Mediation" is a sign of things to come, then Top Rebel Productions is indeed a new force to be reckoned with.  Lorite's unique sensibilities come into fruition here, with a slightly off kilter and exceptionally stylized presentation that takes what could have been a "by the numbers" film and turned it into something special. 

SHE LOVES ME NOT . . . 

There is comedy on hand -- incredibly black comedy -- and I guarantee you will laugh out loud at a few different moments, including one of the more memorable opening monologues in recent history.
 
Following the lead of filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Lorite uses bold transitions and text overlays to emphasize the events that unfold onscreen.  His directorial eye is on the ball as well, and the interplay between the camera work and the sound design (take the repeated shots of the spinning wedding ring hitting the desk, for instance) makes for an engrossing watch.

As if that weren't enough, his actors turn in professional, almost film noir performances  -- no surprise, considering who he's got on hand here: Emmy Award nominee Freddie Rodriguez as gritty but handsome anti-hero and lead star of TV's Eleventh Hour Marley Shelton as the gorgeous femme fatale.

SHE . . . LOVES ME?

There is a lot to like about "Mediation", but that being said, there are a couple sore points for me.  First, the security guard (Moon Ameen)'s acting felt extremely uneven -- this might be an unfair complaint, since the bar was set so ridiculously high by our two leads and Marilyn Sanabria, who plays unlucky Miss Lopez.

Also, the finale seemed rushed, considering how the rest of the film unfolded at a leisurely pace.  I didn't entirely buy Miss Lopez's reaction to the security guard's fate, either.

But the ultimate ending more than makes up for this as we learn Victoria's intentions and are left with her haunting stare.

Funny, poignant and emotionally ruthless, "Mediation" is a must see when it comes to a festival near you.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 3.5 / 5.  Lorite intentionally channels some film noir with his story and his dialogue, and most of the time it works. Some of the lines don't feel genuine to me because no one says "kitten kaboodle" and the like anymore.  His clever manipulation of time adds a fun who-done-what element to the viewing.
Directing: 5 / 5.  Using oddball camera angles and visual tricks aplenty, Lorite turns in a varied and eye catching directorial performance.  He turns what is essentially a one location set into a visually enjoyable film.
Editing: 4 / 5.  The nifty transitions and text overlays come fast and furious, sometimes providing a nice punch, and other times a little distracting from the story, and what the audience is supposed to be feeling. 
Sound/Music: 4 / 5.  The music, by Kays Alatrakchi, varies between inspired and filler, with particularly the aforementioned hallway scene with the security guard and Miss Lopez sounding melodramatic rather than touching.  The closing credits song however was right on the money.
Acting: 4.5 / 5.  Fantastic performances by Rodriguez, Shelton and Sanabria.

Final Grade: 4.2 / 5.

"Mediation" is screening at the 14th ­Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival later this month (April 2014) and the 9th Annual Sunscreen Film Festival in May, with more updates coming soon at Top Rebel Production­­­­s' official website and their Facebook page, so don't forget to give those links a click because you will not want to miss it when it comes near you.

For more coverage of "Mediation", check out our EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with writer/director Francisco Lorite by clicking here!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!