I revisited this movie for some frenetic note-taking as preparation for my appearance on the forthcoming Schwartzy podcast episode on the same. They're still building a backlog before episodes are available in your podcatcher or RSS feed but links will be found at the Schwartzy short film page on Facebook. I, for one, can't wait to hear it.
This movie suffers from mission creep in a big way, from conceptual bloat, and in wrangling its disparate elements into a focused, tonally-confident whole. That said, it's fun and well-made. So much real estate is taken up by various victims and forces of obstructive antagonism, that Trini Alvarado doesn't have space to arc convincingly from A to B. Jeffrey Combs as Milton Dammers is burned into my mind eternally as a character who doesn't need to be fleshed out or…
After seeing Three Identical Strangers and being bowled over, I was curious to check out director Tim Wardle's previous work for television. There's a similar mix here of re-enactment, touching talking-head segments, and tasteful and evocative b-roll. The draw here of course is not wild, stranger-than-fiction, exploration of bioethics and solving a historical mystery; it's a humane and incredibly sad look at three case studies, all mired deeply in machismo and toxic masculinity, made intractable by men's inabilities to de-escalate…
There's something special about this movie that's hard to pin down. Regina Hall is wonderful, of course; the perfect synthesis of grounded and compelling, the warm empathetic heart at the center of the ensemble. Shayna McHayle is a perfect naïve counterpart, pure charisma and likability. Dylan Gerula, who I only know as the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees, is spot-on as the progressive, confused, college-educated surrogate character ("marketing is my major") trying to make money off the patriarchy.