Directed by Alexandre Gay
Starring Theodore Bouloukos and Reginald P. Louis
Indie Film Review by Chris Olson
Ambitious yet largely repetitive, indie film Sacrifice from filmmaker Alexandre Gay (who co-writes with Charlène Serein) has an enjoyable aesthetic and captivating premise that gets bogged down with genre cliches and narrative constructions.
A single shot approach greets the viewer as we embark on a tortuous journey with Matthew Summers (Reginald P. Louis) who is being sadistically interrogated by James Campbell (Theodore Bouloukos). After establishing some kind of foul play by the former on the latter's criminal empire, a smorgasbord of power plays ensue as the captive is subjected to an enduring array of psychological abuse and physical torture. As the plot thickens as much as a Soprano's pasta sauce, we discover that the two characters are connected in many ways.
Pretty derivative of so many gangster movies, Sacrifice feels like an lighthearted throwback. The main premise of being how far someone will go for their family feels inertly mundane considering this is a 2017 indie film. The plot feels too thinly stretched against the running time, as the characters repeat their crime genre footwork again and again.
The filmmaking is pretty daring and intelligent. Using the single shot approach with one location felt immensely intense, allowing the emotions of the scene to be greatly enhanced by their surroundings, whilst the characters were able to enjoy a repartee that benefited from the atmospheric isolation. The profile framing and roving maneuvers of the camera meant that the cinematography had an intriguing effect on the viewer, keeping them immersed in the frame without giving them the whole picture at one time, building the suspense. A somber score accompanied the proceedings with deft attention to tone and emotion, letting the themes of family, love, loyalty and indeed sacrifice, coalesce into a fervent cinematic experience.
When banking on the performances for your movie's success it is important to ensure the main players have undoubtable chemistry. Whilst both P. Louis and Bouloukos are solid in their portrayal of these two intriguing characters, their turns rarely fuse to create something magnificent. Instead, many of the scenes feel like line rehearsals that suggested promise without any real sense of dedicated delivery. As a stage play this would be relatively impressive, but as a cinematic experience there was a huge amount left underdeveloped.
Fans of intense psychological thrillers will enjoy the barbaric intensity of Gay's direction, but will remain unsatisfied by Sacrifice's reluctance to venture outside of the genre restraints.
Watch the official movie trailer for indie film Sacrifice below...