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Posted October 1, 2010
Parallels and Paralax
TAKE is yet another superb film that suffers from lack of promotion and PR. It is a compelling film, intelligently written and directed by Charles Oliver (his first venture in both roles!), contains some of the most subtle and powerful cinematography (by Tristan Whitman) to partner in the intensity of the story telling, a musical score by Roger Neill that enhances the work without drawing attention to itself, and a cast of absolutely first rate actors offering some of their most brilliant performances to date. For the sophisticated film lover this little treasure will likely echo the question "Why didn't we hear about this fine work?" <BR/><BR/>Oliver elects to present this story of two disparate characters whose lives of quiet desperation cross at a moment in time that alters the emotional growth of each - an event that is the parallax for the viewer just when the parallel lives of these challenged people have been explored by means of a nonlinear method of storytelling. Ana (Minnie Driver) works at multiple menial jobs to augment the small teacher's salary of her husband Marty (David Derman) in order to support the Special Ed school their challenged son Jesse (Bobby Coleman) requires. Concurrently we meet Saul (Jeremy Renner) whose expenses in caring for his ill father and his gambling debts drive him to performing criminal means of finding money. For much of the film the audience is unaware of the connection between these two people whose pasts have collided and who both must come to grips with a situation that almost defies description. In many ways the drive of the story is a sensitive journey toward understanding the need for forgiveness and the necessity of finding a greater meaning to the absurdity of life with all of its random acts of violence. <BR/><BR/>Minnie Driver gives a delicately multifaceted performance as the mother, a performance as memorable for her extended moments of frozen silence (captured so exquisitely by cinematographer Whitman) as for her episodes of emotional explosion. 11-year-old Bobby Coleman proves to be one of our finer young actors before the camera today. Jeremy Renner, usually assigned to parts of evil men such as his portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer, his role as the despicable villain in NORTH COUNTRY, THE ASSASINATION OF JESSE JAMES..., etc), here manages to hold the viewer's compassion despite the deeds he commits. Adam Rodriguez shines in an important cameo role as the prison chaplain attempting to help Renner's character find meaning, Rocky Marquette stuns as a cashier victim in a brief but sensitively nuanced appearance - the list of credits is long. But the main kudos must go to Charles Oliver for writing and realizing this brilliant little film. If this is his first outing as a writer and as a director, we have in our midst a sleeping giant! Highly recommended. Grady Harp
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