Directed by Matthew J. Keats & Van Poynton
Starring Ross Forder, Stephen Cromwell, Stephen Murray, Lena-Marie Fitzgerald, Johnny Elliott, & Louise Butley
Indie Film Review by Chris Olson
Told in stylish film noir, indie movie The Nightmare of My Choice, from filmmakers Matthew J. Keats and Van Poynton, is a cryptic tale of dark themes, depraved characters, and captivating dialogue.
Alan Ball (Ross Forder) is a complete man of mystery. Like a streetwise James Bond, he traverses the Dublin landscape in a variety of aliases. Often accompanied by his alcoholic sidekick Flukes (Stephen Cromwell), Mr Ball attempts to sneakily twist situations to his benefit through a full utility-belt of lies and manipulation techniques. Unfortunately, a looming peril presents itself in the form of an old enemy called Cosgrove (Stephen Murray), who may turn this Christmas into one to remember for all the wrong reasons.
Black and white aesthetically, the story is anything but. Ball is a definite anti-hero, often using his silver tongue to trick women into fancying him, but one whose desperation is certainly tragic and we feel sympathetic towards his situation. The maelstrom of bleak locations perfectly suit his shadowy being, especially when events start blurring between fiction and reality, reinforcing a nightmarish atmosphere.
Forder is a phenomenal on screen presence, doing absolute justice to this morally dubious character by making him captivating and unpredictable. Cromwell is also excellent, offering more than just passing comedy, he provides a worthy companion to Ball's recklessness. All of the performers benefit from a script which is sharper than a butcher's knife.
Cinematically, The Nightmare of My Choice is a beautiful film, which is a tough feat considering the darker nature of story. Moments of filmmaking flair are dotted through the piece like little gems sparkling on a dirty riverbed, there for the audience to indulge in but never detracting from the overwhelmingly compelling tone which has been created. A few sequences are genuinely startling when the camerawork and editing start to reflect the dangerous psychology of the main character.
There was a little incoherence with the plot which viewers may find difficult to forgive. It's not a simple A to B to C film, but the events which unfold felt a little random and messy. That being said, there always existed a threatening sense of menace that was foreboding each scene, that if you were able to feel comfortable with what was going on you might have lost this terrific mood surrounding you.
A genuinely remarkable film for establishing such a high quality tone and aesthetic, Keats and Poynton take you on a baffling journey of deceit, seduction and violence that is ultimately brilliant.