JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Roulette (Director/Writer: Erik Kristopher Myers ) - November 18, 2013


4 4
113 min.

Is all life precious?

Have you ever felt like life is unfair? (Perhaps you or someone close has contracted a debilitating disease.)

Have you ever felt abandoned by your parent(s)? (Sometimes literally, due to an early death; at others, by the unbridled scorn from a mom or dad to whom you’ve never truly connected?)

Has being overlooked for a promotion you know you deserved ever produced unwanted changes in behaviour? (Resulting in a loss of productivity, arguments with bosses or unquenchable thirst for alcohol?)

Have you ever come to the scary realization that your deeply held beliefs (religious, moral or both) have been summarily shattered? (Who knew that strong drink and hot sex could be enjoyable, tantalizingly addictive and not the work of the devil?)

Have you ever professed undying love for another and still needed extra-curricular carnal activities? (Fantasies abound and demand to be acted upon: even if that means not only straying from your intended, but also sampling unacknowledged desires.)

Have you ever woken up completely unsure whether your dream—or nightmare—was real or imagined? (Especially recurring ones that tend to blur what surely is with what might have been…)

Is it really a turn-on to say “no”—meaning yes—as your body is entered carnally for the very first time?

Is it really possible to accept coincidence after coincidence in narrative flow?

Can a trio of unlikely soulmates suddenly find each other, only to discover an eerie web of connectivity that defies believability?

Have you ever accepted a dare then felt miserably overwhelmed with its consequences?

Have you ever cheated death but still not been able to keep yourself out of situations that, you know, are inherently risky?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions then you must see writer/director Erik Kristopher Myers’ highly inventive—if only occasionally too predictable in the physical links between back-story and possible present-day reality—cinematic game of Russian roulette.

Dan Schepleng’s string-laden score beautifully complements the action, reaction and ever-tightening chain of events.

In the acting department, the leading men (Mike Baldwin as the mysteriously ill Dean Jensen; Will Haza as the self-centred Jack Daniels devotee, Richard Kessler; Troy Russell appropriately shallow playing “Richie’s” drinking buddy/fuck buddy, er, once removed, it seems…John Tokaz; Jan-David Soutar has a grand time in the role of art student Leon Carmichael, readily initiating an unlikely virgin and teetotaler into the pleasures of the flesh and inebriation) establish their characters with commendable authority but, in varying ways—most of them script related—lose their personas when forced into uncharacteristic situations. (The ill-fated drive away from a potential life mate following a failed proposal of marriage being one example.)

The women fare much better, bringing depth and consistency that fuel many scenes with captivating emotional heat. As the born-again lush, Sunny Howard, Ali Lukowski amazes and revolts (it will be hard to look at a bathroom plunger ever again) on demand. Absolutely riveting is Michelle Murad’s moment of silent anguish as she portrays Zoe Clarke coming to terms with her man’s debilitating—in and out of bed—health afflictions. None cooler than Taylor Lee Hitaffer’s take on failed seductress, rich-kid wife, Anna Kessler: perhaps her frigid demeanour has more than a little to do with her spouse’s need to philander with all comers…

As the coins are tossed, bullets slipped in to cylinders, chamber shut then spun and the barrel placed into nervous mouths or against sweaty temples, the suspense is palpable and the mind begins to wonder whether hitting paydirt might be more of a blessing than a curse for these three world-weary souls. JWR

Your comments are always welcome at JWR.

Click here to have your say (please mention the headline for the article):Feedback to JWR.

Cross-reference(s): Please click on the image link(s) below
for related work: