Framed slightly askew
Review: The Frame
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|Greg Thompson (right, with Oliver Perrin) wields a mighty fork in The Frame.|
A police photographer snaps a picture of a woman on a whim, then finds her dead just hours later. Was it just coincidence, or something more sinister?
This is the question posed by The Frame, a stylish noir thriller in the vein of Memento from writer-director Ian Thorne. Beautifully shot by director of photography Greg Schneider and wonderfully acted, The Frame sets off on a course of intrigue and double-crosses.
Roe (Oliver Perrin, very solid his first acting role) is a photographer for the police. He's not a cop, but his dad was, and now he's been taken under the wing of his father's former partner, Detective Pickens (CinemATL's own Steve Warren). On the same day a cop is found dead, another body is discovered, that of a woman Roe photographed earlier in the day—a Jane Doe. The two events appear to have no link, but when Pickens gets a new partner in Detective Green (Greg Thompson), a scuzzy gold-toothed slimeball, Roe starts to make some connections.
In the photo lab, Roe notices three pictures on his camera that he did not take. It's Jane Doe, and she's obviously in trouble. To top it off, after he leaves the station, Roe literally bumps into the very same girl—or at least one who bears an uncanny resemblance.
Roe tails her, grabbing snapshots the whole time; it's not clear if it is really the same Jane Doe, an eerie doppelganger—or maybe just a figment of his imagination. Or it could be some diabolical setup by Green, who seems to pop-up everywhere, trying to point the finger at Roe.
The plot setup is very nice, and the outdoor montage of Roe following Jane Doe has a great look to it, set up perfectly by a terrific score by Menton J. Matthews III. The movie has style to burn and you are drawn into the demented world of Roe.
But then things begin to unravel. There's a whole subplot involving Internal Affairs that Detective Green may or may not be involved in, and a CIA or FBI agent—well, I'm not sure who he is exactly, just some mysterious government agent—named Murphy (John J. Cornetta) who may or may not be Roe's only friend.
It's hard to keep up with all that's going on and with about twenty minutes left in the film, there's a twist that I just didn't get. Maybe it's just me, but I was completely baffled at the end. Nothing made sense in the final act, and hard as I tried to put the pieces together, I could never come up with a rational explanation.
Maybe there is no rational explanation. Maybe there's not supposed to be. I don't know. It may make more sense to somebody with more cognitive reasoning skills than I.
If this film is any indication, Ian Thorne and company have a bright future in front of them. The production values alone are slicker than almost anything I've seen from the local indie film scene. I just wish the film's sense of logic was just a little more polished as well.
Michael D Friedman is an Atlanta screenwriter and filmmaker. He is a founder and co-president of the Atlanta Screenwriters Group.
Rating: (2½ out of 4)
Directed by: Ian Thorne
Written by: Ian Thorne
Starring: Oliver Perrin, Greg Thompson, Michelle Kegley, Steve Warren, Rachael Rollings, John J. Cornetta, Bob Hardy, Frank Warlick
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