The Perfect Husband, 2014.
Directed by Lucas Pavetto.
Starring Gabriella Wright, Bret Roberts, Tania Bambaci, Carl Wharton, Philippe Reinhardt, and Daniel Vivian.
A young married couple attempt to recover from a past trauma by taking a weekend trip away to a remote cabin but it seems that they cannot escape the demons of the past as paranoia descends into carnage.
The film begins with Viola (Gabrielle Wright) and her husband Nicola (Bret Roberts) packing for their idyllic trip to the countryside but all the while bickering over past issues. It’s a tense opening act with an emotionally distant Nicola dismissing many of Viola’s concerns, and Viola expressing through her body language a discomfort about this trip and of Nicola’s behaviour. This notion soon dissipates when they drive towards the cabin when it becomes abundantly clear that these were not character traits, but poor acting choices.
A story of a couple overcoming a traumatic experience offers great potential. The trauma in question remains unexplained until the film’s climax, but the prior flashing images to indicate to its origin are interesting, albeit heavy-handed. However, given that this couple violently sways from moments of great chemistry to lucid exchanges undermines such visuals; the audience is left cold to these visceral moments.
Gabrielle Wright is able to sporadically elicit eroticism, hurt, and frustration, marking her performance the strongest of the two. Bret Roberts’ awkward, wooden performance, on the other hand, is dull, and uncomfortable: think of a forgettable Keanu Reeves – same talent, but none of the watchablility. What these two leads lack is consistency, which marks it a frustrating viewing experience – one moment they are evoking such passion as they kiss in the lake, and in the next moment they look to be avoiding each other’s lips. Tana Bamabaci’s Doctor performance, whose two primary goals are to comfort the couple and to unload exposition, has the warmth and humanity of an automated voice-mail. Such performance issues are exacerbated when the sound effects don’t always sync to the on-screen action. The Doctor’s lips and voice clearly indicate a post-production fluff.
Where the film excels is in the crisp cinematography by Davide Manca to elevate it above the independent horror malaise. The voyeuristic shots to signify the characters paranoia contrasts nicely to the blood-splattering gore-fest in the latter part of the film. Director Lucas Pavettor and his co-writer Massimo Vavassori hint towards greater ideas that are unfortunately left in the background. In a particularly well-scripted scene, where Nicola recalls of a traumatic childhood experience to a distressed Viola, the film looks to broadening its thematic horizons. It’s also shot to reflect this mood change. Alas, it’s those poor acting chops that cap such potential.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/197064794″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=fale” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]