Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Vindication (2006)

Directed by Bart Mastronardi

Written by Bart Mastronardi

Stars: Keith Fraser, Miguel Lopez, Raine Brown, Zoe Daelman Chlanda, Jerry Murdock and Alan Rower Kelly as ‘Urbane’

Release date:  April 1 2010, US (DVD)

Embarrassingly enough it took me an awfully long time to pick up a copy of Vindication. Slapped wrists aside, I'm so glad I eventually did. Haunting and provocative are just two of many words I could use to describe this impressive psychological horror film.  

Vindication tells the tale of young Nicholas Bertram, a man struggling to deal with his sexuality and the abuse he has endured from his father throughout his life. It seems that Nicholas has took the brunt of the blame for his mother’s death through giving birth to Nicholas and his relationship with his father has become nothing short of fragile. The fact that Nicholas is also trying to come to terms with being gay has only further fuelled his father’s anger and resentment towards him and this is rapidly driving him towards a very dark place indeed.

Following a powerfully acted break down, Nicholas attempts suicide but is subsequently saved by a concerned friend. It is here on out that Nicholas journey becomes far darker and harrowing than he could have possibly imagined. I would hate to give away too much about the remainder of the film as its best to see this film as fresh as possible.... but I will say that from this point on guilt has well and truly taken over Nicholas’ life and that’s not a good thing. The scenes from here on out veer from out and out creepy (Alan Rowe Kelly’s formidable cameo) to hack and slash inspired murder sequences and finally a bleak and tragic climax.

Vindication is the kind of indie horror movie where some of the usual pitfalls are nicely avoided. The cinematography is perfect, the sound/dialogue is clear and the score is hauntingly relevant.  It’s extremely impressive what Bart and his crew have created and just goes to show what can come out of hard work yet little financing.

Acting wise, it has to be shouted from the roof tops that Keith Fraser was AMAZING in Vindication. I haven’t even come close to experiencing the kind of upbringing that the character Nicholas has had, so for an actor to make you feel his pain so overwhelmingly is one hell of a talent. I think I was close to tears several times watching this movie and that was in the first half hour! Absolutely astounding work- seriously.   Other appearances such as Zoe Daelman Chlanda in a small role is very effective and extremely important to the bulk of the narrative, aforementioned Alan Rowe Kelly terrifies as ‘urbane’ and Jerry Murdock makes it oh so easy  for you to hate his character as the angry, abusive father of Nicholas; ‘William’.

I have spoken to writer and director Bart Mastronardi a few times on Facebook and he was nice enough to send me a signed DVD of the movie after I told him how much I loved it! I also believe he has just premiered his short entry into the upcoming film Tales of Poe (The Tell Tale Heart) and has also recently worked with the Happy Cloud Pictures team on their new film Razor Days.  So you have those and hopefully much more to be looking forward to from this talented film maker – in the mean time look Vindication up on Facebook and do yourself a big favour and grab a copy.  

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