A dark approach to the world of independent filmmaking is explored in gore thriller, Pieces of Talent.
Aspiring actress Charlotte (Kristi Ray) is struggling to catch a break. Working in a seedy night club to keep a roof over her’s and her young-minded mother’s heads, Charlotte’s luck appears to change when she meets David (David Long) an indie director with a particularly unique method of capturing images on film, offering her a role in a new movie he’s working on. Charlotte and David develop a touching friendship but little does she know working with this deranged director will give Charlotte more than she ever bargained for.
Pieces of Talent is a horror film that effortlessly gets under the skin, one of the more unnerving elements is having the co-writer David Long play a character of the same name. His only film credit to date via IMDB is Pieces of Talent, therefore the fourth wall is scarily broken and it does well to place the audience in a position of watching some demented, artistic snuff film.
Despite incorporating a recognizable plot in terms of the conventional thriller, Pieces of Talent dares to be different; on the whole it’s more of an experimental film which creates intrigue for the viewer.
The use of lingering shots on disturbing imagery adds in another dimension to the constant suspense that’s placed on the audience. Several breath-taking locations are used including open spaces that provide an eerie sense of isolation. At times it’s darkly funny due to David’s character behaving awkwardly yet demonstrates that he’s every inch the mad man and capable of horrible things.
Long gives an effective performance, his character is built up well and an insight into his crazed mind as a wronged amateur filmmaker is unnerving but at the same time enjoyable to watch. Kristi Ray plays Charlotte as likeable and relatable, she’s extremely ambitious and driven to become more than just being stuck in a dead end job she hates. Ray shows that she has a lot of potential as a future Scream Queen and does well to convey a fiery side to Charlotte as well as a vulnerable one. One of the highlights as an audience is being one step ahead of Charlotte, making the softer side of David in their scenes together seem all the more creepy while garnering genuine empathy for her.
The antagonistic relationship between Charlotte and her mother Mary (Barbara Weetman) brings the majority of the drama to the film. The traditional roles of mother and daughter are reversed as Charlotte appears to be the independent one with her own home and car, which her mother frequently “borrows” at the most inconvenient times. The sense of distance between them is heart-breaking viewing, particularly toward the grizzly climax.
Gut-wrenching, raw, challenging and brutal, Pieces of Talent is an indie, horror masterpiece and a must-see for 2014.