Written by: Daniel Strange aka Dan Lee, Rodeo Strange
Starring: #FrancescaLouiseWhite, Candice Palladino, Ricardo Freitas, Marcus Davis-Orrom
Swimming With Sharks meets Misery with a touch of couple’s therapy in indie thriller The Great Charade from filmmakers Daniel Strange and Rodeo Strange. Starring Francesca Louise White and Ricardo Freitas as a married celebrity couple who are kidnapped and violently harassed by two “super fans” (Candice Palladino and Marcus Davis-Orrom).
Set entirely within the confines of a grim apartment, Amara (White) and Ryan (Freitas) awake to a nightmarish situation; they are tied to chairs with no clue as to how they got there. Their only clues come from a frenetic and unpredictably violent actress called Dixie (Palladino), and a smoothly intimidating guy called Lyle (Davis-Orrom). A picture gets painted of how Amara and Ryan are Hollywood elite, looking down on the likes of Dixie and Lyle from their ivory tower. And whilst our deranged super fans look to exact calculated revenge, Amara and Ryan must learn to put their imminent divorce aside and work together if they hope to survive.
Full of intoxicating tension and spellbinding intimacy, Daniel Strange and Rodeo Strange know how to captivate their audience. The Great Charade is loaded with palpable threat at every turn; from the terrifying characters to the erratic #cinematography and mise en scéne. Audiences are kept in a constant state of terror through controlled filmmaking and daring themes.
The performances are really splendid and there is a powerful chemistry between all four performers where each shines in the role they play. Characters are written to complement each other, with aspects piercing the narrative to make them more believable and empathetic. Such as Amara’s boiling anger, Ryan’s pathetic acceptance, Dixie’s unhinged mind, and Lyle’s conviction and strength. There were a few moments in the dialogue where the scenes were let down, such as Lyle emptying Amara’s handbag clearly about to attack her and Amara getting more pissed about her captor’s lack of fashion awareness than her own safety. These are few and far between, though, and for the most part this is a disturbing and affecting piece.
Kidnapping movies are very common, and this indie film is unlikely to topple any of those giants, such as Taken or Ransom. Attacking Hollywood’s supposedly untouchable characters is also a fairly familiar theme and The Great Charade follows in the footsteps of movies like the aforementioned Misery. However, the #filmmakers bring something incredibly compelling and engaging to the table. A gripping, terrifying, and sensational journey through delusion that is as poignant as it is timely.