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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ballardia Productions' "The Plot" A Faltering Conspiracy Theory Thriller

"THE PLOT" (2013)
Genre: Thriller
Length- 3:36
Company: Ballardia Productions
Website: N/A

A series of armed robbery deaths have set Ray Copeland (James Ristas) on edge.  He hunts and pecks on his typewriter, certain there is a connection between the killings and his former unit, back in his military days.

Only two men -- Ray and Michael Danton (Kevin Geezil) remain.  And Danton is on his way . . .

MURDER BY MODEM

"The Plot" is a thriller, and the trouble with thrillers is that they need time to breathe and, well, be thrilling.  At three and a half minutes (including credits), "The Plot" feels more like a music video than a compelling piece of narrative.

I like the idea -- Danton is provoked to kill by a modem-like tone he hears on the other end of a telephone call.  It's reminiscent of progressive metal band Queensryche's groundbreaking opus, Operation: Mindcrime, which also happens to be one of my favorite albums of all time.  It was an interesting idea then and it still is.  What Queensryche's work has that "The Plot" is lacking is humanity and backstory.  First of all, blink-or-you-miss-it shots of typed pages are the only way any context is provided for what happens onscreen.  Otherwise, the story is not only bare bones, it's nonexistent.

IN ADDITION

The next problem: we have no reason to feel anything for either of our main characters -- good or bad.  There is no dialogue except for a pair of throwaway lines at the finale, and no one ever shows any emotion.

The final nail in the coffin is the fact that the ending provides no catharsis, explanation or resolution.
 
That is not to say that everything is all bad -- the direction by Melvin Cartagena features some interesting camera work.  The exterior shots are dark blue but completely visible and attractive to the eye.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 1 / 5.  It's an intriguing concept, but there's no movement in the plot, nothing is ever resolved, and neither of our main characters are given any screen time for personality.
Directing: 2.5 / 5.  Cartagena's screen work creates enough visual interest for it to work.
Editing: 2 / 5.  The majority of "The Plot" runs smoothly.  The shot of the two men going for the gun felt a touch too long.
Sound/Music: 2 / 5.  The score was an interesting mix of digital noise and moody strings.  I liked it.  The sound recording was poor -- there was a LOT of background noise and varying volume levels from shot to shot.
Acting: 2 / 5.  The actors did OK- there wasn't much for them to do.

Final Grade: 1.9 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "The Plot" and follow Melvin Cartagena on Facebook!



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!