“I Hate the Man in My Basement” | #NBFF2017 Official Selection


NEWPORTBEACHFF_POSTERGrade (A+)


“I HATE THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT” is written and directed by Dustin Cook and stars; Chris Marquette, Nora-Jane Noone and Manny Montana. The story follows Claude, a man still trying to cope with the loss of his wife, as well as trying to figure out his new place in the world.

He lives a solemn, seemingly normal existence until he happens to meet Kyra. A free-spirited dance instructor that instantly connects with Claude, who finds his situation suddenly complicated as a wave of new feelings overtake him. He begins to develop a connection with Kyra but at the same time he is hiding a dark secret. Claude has his wife’s killer is chained up in his basement.

Now from synopsis alone you should expect a unique, and highly interesting plot, and once you begin watching you will learn that is exactly what this film it. However, that is only a small portion of what this story delivers as an overall package. This film was dramatic, comedic, created genuine romance, built tension, and effective suspense. It has been a very long time since I have sat through a film that could blend so many different genres together not only with ease. But almost as if they were meant to be together, serving to each compliment the other.

From a story aspect, this was a fantastic movie to sit back and enjoy. The premise could sound unrealistic, almost grim, and it is. But as this story progresses and the character dynamics are developed the plot turns out to be surprisingly grounded. It feels realistic, and without trying to overdo it, you can completely connect with the characters, their situations, as well as the mental torment the character of Claude deals with.

CLAUDE_SANDWICH HUG

The story-line has a nice progression. It builds the motivation for the characters with an efficient pace. It develops their personalities very effectively, making you can invest in them and it builds a lot of intrigue as to how this entire story will play out. Another strong element of this film was the pacing overall. It keeps things moving, never lingers too long on a certain area, and as you feel the story constantly developing, and exploring the characters, your attention will never waver.

But as good as a story may be, the performances are crucial to conveying it properly and delivering the needed impact. Something this film easily pulls off. Now the next comment will certainly draw some attention but I will stick by it, and argue it with anyone. Chris Marquette delivers an award worthy performance in the role of Claude. It may not be Oscar level, although I thought it could have been, but it is certainly a performance deserving of a trophy for Marquette’s mantle.

CLAUDE_BLANK STARE

This film was completely reliant on Marquette to capture the depth of Claude in order to connect him with audiences. So we could see his point-of-view, connect with his torment and pain, as well as understand his place in life, and Marquette knocks it out of the park with an exceptional performance. He will have you laughing one minute, and wiping a tear from your eye the next as he portrays perfectly a man struggling with what to do with his life. He was charming and charismatic and he created a main character you can relate to despite some of his actions.

Nora-Jane Noone was also excellent as Kyra, the dance instructor that just so happens to cross paths with Claude. She was energetic and as equally charming as Marquette. She felt so natural in her delivery of the witty dialogue and with her physical acting, as subtle as it may have been, she compliments the character of Claude by being his complete opposite in many ways. The story develops the relationship between Claude and Kyra very effectively, it felt natural, and it was comical, heart-warming, and most important felt very realistic to how unsuspected love could transpire.

A key element to the enjoyment of this movie, other than the fantastic writing and excellent performances, was its focus. Dustin Cook’s scripting was precise and planned. You can feel as if he had an idea and took the time to build substance around it. Then, once completed with the pen, Cook sat behind the camera and executed his vision with a crisp result. When the film-makers and the performers are all on the same page as to what the vision is, the result can be an amazing film. One that will leave a lasting impression, and in my opinion “I Hate the Man in My Basement” is a perfect example.


 

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