One Line Review: A stirring drama that completely dispenses with any great posturing and instead lets raw emotion and complex human conflicts speak for themselves!
With his directorial debut “Mass”, which celebrated its world premiere as part of the Sundance Film Festival, actor Fran Kranz presents a painfully touching drama. That Fran Kranz, of all people, who became known to a wide audience through his role as Stoner Marty in the metahorror flick “The Cabin in the Woods’ was made known, would create a film with such emotional force and sensitivity, may surprise many. But the theme on which the film is based is deeply personal for the director.
The reason to dedicate himself to such a difficult topic was the Parkland High School rampage in 2018, which got so close to the director that he wanted to deal with the matter intensively. The work unfolds like a chamber play and focuses exclusively on its four main actors Jason Isaacs.
The married couple Jay and Gail are on their way to a distant church, while an employee there is nervously preparing a conference room. The two seem extremely nervous, as they are supposed to meet those people today whose son brutally murdered their own son during a rampage many years ago. Although Gail in particular seems suspicious of the meeting, they decide to do it on the advice of their therapist, in the hope that the conversation will finally bring the burden of emotional trauma to an end. What follows is a heartbreaking dialogue about guilt, responsibility and forgiveness.
First film by Kranz
Seldom has a film been so reserved in so many ways and yet incredibly intense. In order to be able to convey the raw emotion as authentically as possible, director Kranz decided to forego background noises completely for large parts of the film and to illustrate the trepidation of the situation even more with an increasingly narrow image format.
Jason Isaacs, who is best known to most as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, gives the best performance of his long career without lying and could already be a hot contender for numerous prizes for the next awards season. But Martha Plimpton and Ann Dowd also play their hearts out. While Plimpton’s character is a nervous wreck who can no longer bear the emotional burden that lies on her, Dowd exudes warmth and deep compassion that can fill the whole room.
One striking question
One of the most important questions the film raises is that of blame. While those affected initially want to blame the perpetrator’s parents for his actions, it serves the two more as an internal coping mechanism that prevents them from finally being able to let go. The mother of the gunman, on the other hand, struggles with the fact that, despite everything, she still feels love for her son and tries with all her might to keep him in good memory, for which she has to fight with serious feelings of guilt. Kranz ‘truly successful script gives the depth and authenticity of the stirring dialogue that make the film a unique experience.
A stirring drama that completely dispenses with any great posturing and instead lets raw emotion and complex human conflicts speak for themselves!