Directed by: Steven Murphy
Written by: Steven Murphy
Starring: Bayley Freer, Steven Murphy, Sean Pogmore, Jane Mckell, Todd Von Joel
Indie Film Review by: Chris Olson
“Beware the angels you pray for.”
That's the tagline of indie film My Saviour, written and directed by Steven Murphy, and a telling phrase it is considering the nature of his movie, in which Bayley Freer plays Monica, a subjugated mother of one, whose ostracised place in her local community begins to improve when a mysterious stranger called Michael (Steve Murphy) becomes her “saviour”. However, like all heroes, there is a backstory and Michael's could prove to be more trouble than Monica bargained for.
Dark and dramatic, My Saviour has a sinister tone that is absolutely engulfing at times. Murphy's skill as a director is assured, creating some affecting and even disturbing sequences which are wholly entertaining (supported by First Assistant Director Mark Baggott). The stylistic choices he makes, in particular in the final stretch of the indie film, are bold and captivating. I particularly enjoyed the fighting scenes.
That being said, there are two large flies in the ointment that prevent My Saviour from being a better film than it is. One is Murphy's performance. Heavy-handed (and not in a good way) and laboured, he struggles to fully realise this brutal yet intriguing character, often playing him as confusedly thuggish when the story perhaps required him to be more menacing. His use of clunky dialogue and repetitive lines was a let down. The second is the script, which does well enough to create a threatening atmosphere and convince us of the perilous situation Monica has found herself in but fails to elevate itself above mediocre amateur dramatics and wooden dialogue.
The performances are a mixed bag. Murphy is somewhere in the middle, with an array of hackneyed locals filling up the foundations without much to say for themselves. But right at the top is Freer, whose turn is without doubt the best thing about My Saviour. Her character’s tumultuous journey is poignantly depicted by an actor with immense emotional depth and physicality. The brutalising effects of her surroundings seem to manifest as movements which are tragic and enduring, whilst the strength she finds in her stranger’s attention sees her emboldened, if only briefly, with a growing sense of unease building in the viewer as we predict an inevitable and foreboding demise of some sort.
Murphy’s tale touched on numerous themes which were intelligently proposed if not executed. Monica’s isolation and sense of self-worth being one of the strongest aspects of the story. Michael’s strong silent type was quite a familiar trope but one which was interesting nonetheless, and his character’s flaws are (without spoilers) intrepidly explored.
A worthy addition to the dark and stormy genre with a phenomenal central performance from Freer. Murphy’s lack of charisma in front of the camera notwithstanding his contributions as a whole mark him as a fearless filmmaker that given a full cast of talent on Freer’s level could be enough to deliver a solid knockout punch.
Watch the official movie trailer for My Saviour below...