Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Pieces of Talent (2014)
Directed by Joe Stauffer
Written by Joe Stauffer, Dustin Lewis
Stars: Kristi Ray, David Long, Nate Panning, Barbara Weetman, Jon Stafford, Taylor Kowalski
Release: DVD and VHS available HERE (Enter 'Hacked' for a $2 discount from your purchase - due to the kindness of David Long!)
From the Official Pieces of Talent webiste:
Set in the small coastal town of Bright Leaf, North Carolina, “Pieces of Talent” centers around Charlotte, a disillusioned aspiring actress working a night job as a cocktail waitress in order to make ends meet. Charlotte catches a break when seemingly chance circumstances put her in contact with a local filmmaker, David Long. David and Charlotte form a quick friendship that leads to Charlotte landing the starring role in David’s newest project. David quickly becomes obsessed with Charlotte and begins building his bloody masterpiece. He films each encounter with the ultimate goal of filming Charlotte as his final installment. David is a happily obsessed individual willing to do whatever it takes to make “true art”. He utilizes his charm and skills to make something dark and deranged seem utterly beautiful and loving.
In a sense Pieces of Talent is a toughie to review - not because I did not enjoy it, but because I DID enjoy it. To those interested in owning a copy I highly recommend it, but would warn there are several disturbing scenes - these scenes are incredibly important in order to support the plot but I thought I would warn you anyway!
Anyway with the dull stuff out of the way, I have to applaud the director and writers of Pieces of Talent for creating a visually excellent, brilliantly written and acted, sometimes grueling piece of horror cinema with enough human drama to make you feel something for those involved. Don't expect any thinly drawn characters of whose deaths you are just foaming at the mouth for. This film gives us characters we either care about or dislike to the point you expect them to die but you are still not sure they deserve the fate that is likely coming their way. That's where David Long comes in.
David Long playing, well, David Long is a complete revelation in this film. No matter what he is doing good, bad, kind or outright atrocious, its incredibly hard to avert your eyes - a real raw acting talent which is carried to a high standard all the way to the movies grim conclusion.
Likewise Kristi Ray as Charlotte provides an amazingly natural performance and there are points in the film where I wanted to reach out and hug her, she is basically beaten down for having the audacity to have ambitions, ambitions which eventually guide her into the twisted realm of David Long. Charlotte's mother played by Barbara Weetman, one of the guilty parties for driving Charlotte's sense of worth deep into the ground is another fantastic performance. Unless Barbara was actually drunk off her face on set the whole time, I have to say, man can this lady play the bitter alcoholic to a fine art - a truly believable performance.
There are a number of grisly scenes in this movie, all brilliantly done and practical with a few being quite disturbing. The first two victims fates definitely had me wanting to cover my eyes and this was less about the graphic nature and more about Davids cheerful disposition throughout - watch and you will catch my drift.
Support indie cinema and grab of a copy of this film, Joe Stauffer is clearly a director to watch based on this film which has a wonderfully dreamy feel in among the expertly written and directed scenes of horror. I also predict bright futures for many others involved in the film, particularly the actors mentioned.