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Beguiled Company

average rating is 2 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Sep 25, 2022

Film Reviews
Beguiled Company
Directed by:
Tristan James Jensen
Written by:
Tristan James Jensen
Chance Gilliam, Jess Tomasko, Devyn Williams, Gabriel Hawk, Megan Thompson

Given the current state of the world, it should come as a surprise to nobody that films like ‘Beguiled Company’ are growing in popularity. In fact, over the next few years, as the global economic crisis deepens, films like this will likely only be made more and more. The merits of that for filmmaking could be debated endlessly - on the one hand, you have directors exploring new ideas with the camera, filming in innovative and creative ways. However, the flip side of that is the growth of nihilistic filmmaking, which is so centred on confronting ‘society’ that it never considers one of the fundamentals of storytelling - good characters.


That’s exactly the kind of film ‘Beguiled Company’ is - one in which ‘the message’, and its undoubted good points are outweighed by the lack of care handed to its characters and the undirected anger aimed at the system. It’s a film which thinks itself clever in its rebellion but is nothing more than a pot shot, filled with buzzwords and vague messages - the kind of thing ripped off a young, disillusioned teenager's Twitter page.


The film follows a group of young twenty-somethings, all looking for a way to beat the system. There’s Brenden (Chance Gilliam), the leader of the group, and the main instigator behind all the group’s mayhem - he’s rude, brash and thoroughly unlikeable - the kind of main character you just want to punch. He lives with Mason (Devyn Williams) and Tino (Gabriel Hawk) - Mason the cautious member of the pack, and the one most concerned with their crimes - he’s by far the most likeable, though Tino also possesses a certain charm. The remaining members of their group are Ilisha (Jess Tomasko), a homeless girl they discover and become friends with, and Sydney (Megan Thompson), who is kind of just there.


The film aims to show their heady descent into their ways, as they are chucked about by society, but it’s just an exercise in what happens when the system is upturned. It’s not particularly fun - the group as a collective are obnoxious whenever they leave their house - taking their form of justice on Walmart, the cops, and on an alleged paedophile. They wear masks of Trump, Shrek, and Al Jolson in blackface as they exact revenge on those who get in their way.


Its dialogue is so ridden with cliches, you could attach any number of lines to one of those images of the Joker - ‘we’re all slaves to society’; ‘that’s the trap’ and ‘oh sweet I love 9/11’. The film doesn’t know when it’s stepped over the line, and when one character says ‘you’re racist’ to a cop pulling them over for legitimate reasons, then it’s about a mile over it. It’s as though the director Tristan James Jensen exists in his own world, where he’s morally righteous and everyone who dares to disagree is completely wrong and totally out of line.


For all Jensen’s flaws on the writing and story side of ‘Beguiled Company’, he at least offsets that through some impressive direction. Jensen’s vision of the fallen world is framed through a creative lens, and it isn’t merely some bleak depiction, filled with turgid blacks and greys. No, he allows colour and light into his vision of a flawed society - in particular, there’s an extended psychedelic sequence which mesmerises and allows Jensen to let his obvious talent sparkle. He’s a director I’d like to see more from, though with a different kind of film and a script not written by himself.


If it’s films like ‘Beguiled Company’ which give us some of the next generation of filmmakers then we’re in for a rough few years for debut films. It’s a film made for the Twitter generation, for edge lords high on reading ‘A Clockwork Orange’, who are pretentious in their own way and have disturbed, nihilistically bleak visions of a gritty world in which they are the morally virtuous and those who don’t conform to their rules deserve nothing. Films like this have a place, but only when they are intelligent enough to admit the flaws in their philosophy, 'Beguiled Company' fails to do that.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Indie Feature Film
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