‘Deadly Virtues: Love. Honor. Obey’ is an Unsettling Little Flick (Review)
Directed by: Ate de Jong
Cast: Edward Akrout, Matt Barber, Megan Maczko
It begins as an examination of a strange, often disconcerting and always dangerous relationship. In just a few minutes we fully understand why: Some psycho ties this woman up around the clock. He’s got her doing all sorts of things… she’s basically this man’s slave. It’s a strange situation, especially as we see that this woman seems to have small openings, narrow means of potential escape. And yet, here she is. How long will this “relationship” continue on, and is there any chance of an escape, without at least a single life being lost?
There’s a great side-plot that moves forward at a perfect pace, and the film, feeling multilayered does manage to enhance the viewing experience. This could be a slow home invasion type tale, but given all the content that director Ate de Jong shoves in our faces, there’s simply no room for downtime. That scenario also strengthens the fluidity of the flick – we’re too wound up in the story, the pacing and the characters to such a degree that this one is over and done with before you realize you’re staring at the credits. But I also think that’s the absolute best approach to this story.
Although the film doesn’t offer enough action to keep an adrenaline junkie entertained, there’s a strong enough story, and an active enough pair of separate plots (that of course collide into one another as the movie presses on) to keep viewers invested in a small but ambitious film.
I say ambitious, because Ate de Jong and writer Mark Rogers force an entire story onto just a very small few of performers. If the actors fumble, the movie fumbles, and that’s a big gamble for a filmmaker to take. But Jong rode that risk and managed to siphon some very strong performances from a group that primarily consists of virtual unknowns. If this was a test for these young performers, they’ve passed, with flying colors.
While I think the imagery can be a little bland, and the camera techniques are extremely basic, never daring to offer viewers something unexpected, the editing of the film – by one talented Jason Rayment is clean and crisp, frequently delivering smooth transitions that helps the picture ease its way into our psyches. All in all, behind the scenes, we’ve got a group of talented technicians with a wealth of room to grow, and a promise that few in the business display.
Don’t head into Deadly Virtues: Love. Honor. Obey anticipating a Steven Spielberg level film. Instead, load this one up knowing that the budget is limited but the heart is enormous, and everyone involved in the picture showcase a drive that tells me no one was sleeping on the job. This gang wanted to make a disturbing, creepy little picture, and they’ve succeeded.
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