Starring: Margo Martindale, Hanna Hall, and Adam Scarimbolo
speaking? Here’s a film filled with great actors
whipping up some dynamite performances within a wildly original
storyline. The problem you, the savvy filmgoer, must over come
is a few of the lower budget snafus. But, do, because everyone
involved is doing the best they can (and it shows), within the
budget they had.
film's odd name you may recognize from your SAT vocabulary test.
But don't feel dumb if you didn't. Scalene means, “A triangle
in which all sides/angles are different.” Which after viewing
you’ll realize is very apropos if a confusing nondescript-to-most-of-us
Story goes… Jacob (Adam Scarimbolo) is a catatonic
young man. We will meet him in a few minutes, but, we hear about
him in the first few frames.
filmmaker is going to tell the story backwards. Sometimes that
makes audiences uncomfortable, other times, it makes for a brain-teasing
ride. Like here.
mom, Janice (Margo Martindale) is frankly a bit of a cold fish.
She just seems to be that woman you run into on your best mood
days that is like a big blue meany of joy kill-filled energy.
first, as you are shown more of her day-to-day, you figure that
crusty persona is a reflection of her situation. She is caretaker
to her adult son who does not communicate. Chalk it up to caretaker
stress. Doing for another person who basically can not do anything
for themselves, can and will take its toll. Here, Janice is also
facing many of life’s other menial annoyances; men, work
and so forth.
mommie dearest hires Paige (Hanna Hall) so she can get some “herself”
time. But, Paige starts to notice something’s up in the
small family – beyond the stress-induced tantrums of the
mom, and the child-like actions of Jacob.
whose point of view is trying to tell you what?
film does not make light of some pretty heavy subjects. And, Scalene’s
last 15 minutes or so, as the story gets clearer to you, are hard
to watch – and not for younger audiences. Your breath will
hold, your hand covers your mouth as the reality of what you’re
watching will slap you across the face like you've just insulted
Orson Welles' genius or something. The subject is very controversial
from any angle, and Scalene's filmmakers seem to approach it as
Martindale is a character actress of extreme talents. Like
a Beth Grant, but less typecast; she is found in everything, as
everyone, around the others. Trust me, when you see her, you know
her. However, I don’t recall watching her in a commanding
situation before. And, if Scalene had a better production value,
and made it into the hands of those folks that give out golden
statues, and reached an audience at release in theaters? Yeah,
she’d be sittin’ real pretty. Just proof great actors
come in all shapes, ages, and areas. BUt, if ifs and and were
pots and pans there'd be no need for dishes; the thought is meaningless.
the same career building award-winning if-they-saw-the performance
can be said of “the pretty girl” Paige - aka Hanna
Hall. This actor chickbabe shows you a deep talent and layers
herself like an unassuming Napoleon found at the finest café
on the street of New York. You can tell Hall’s finally got
a meaty role and she’s not letting the opportunity slip
by; you may recognize her from a few things. You feel her pain,
and see her volleying. That’s an acting talent - to show
without over-playing an emotion. In less capable hands, her role
could have been a ruining factor. Hall reveals her abilities in
one of the most uncomfortable scenes possibly ever shot of a very
serious subject matter – from any angle. This young lady
is one to watch for. The camera loves her, and she can really
play sinister and innocent well; not an easy task for the more
cookie-cutter vixens blazon on big screens.
Scarimbolo as the brain injured Jacob may be pulling a Leonardo
DiCaprio, in the sense that his ability to not over do a mental
disability and deliver, what one assumes, is a well researched
performance, tells us he’s clearly on the path to stardom
– given the right agent, and choosing the right project
Parker, has decided to present his film ala Memento.
If you recall how when you first saw that film, you were confused
a bit. But, then your mind went along with its unconventional
style of storytelling. And ultimately you were thrilled to follow
its path to the discoveries unveiled. Now, Scalene is not as great
as Memento (4 stars vs. 5), but, it is pretty gosh darn good.
This director has a great future. Give him a budget people!
recommendation: Salmon – it’s brain food
Extras included: Teaser trailer, Theatrical Trailer, Featurette:
PERCEIVING REALITY: The Making of SCALENE, Featurette: World Premiere/Q&A
at Dances with Films, Featurette: Awards Ceremony at Dances with
The Blu-Ray exclusively includes the full three and a half hour
PERCEIVING REALITY documentary along with the DVD extras.