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Midlands Review - Betrayal

By midlandsmovies, Jul 26 2019 03:57PM

Midlands Review - Betrayal

Directed by French Director

NFX Films


“I thought we were friends”.

A man awakens in a hotel room from an amnesiac slumber to call out the name “Jess” in this mysterious opening to a new drama film called Betrayal from local filmmaker ‘French Director’. An intriguing pseudonym to say the least!

However, it doesn’t take him too long to find who he was looking for as this missing girl is discovered dead in the main room. And from this small but significant incident, Betrayal sets up an intriguing enigma of what horrid things happened to get our characters to this moment.

Cutting to later that night, the man (Joshmaine Joseph) meets a friend (Mathias T André) in a dark underpass to discuss who could have possibly committed the act. But as these things often go, the man doesn’t want the authorities involved – in fact, he would prefer to take matters into his own hands. And what do we see in hands? A pistol. And it’s ready for action.

As the man enters a high-rise apartment (or what could pass as one on a limited budget), our vigilante incapacitates a burly security guard. He then confronts a well-dressed man (The Return of the Ring’s Dominic Thompson) by aiming the gun barrel to his head ready to enact some sort of murderous retribution. But is everything really as it seems? And doesn't this man seem a bit too keen to kill?

Well, the director moves us around the story with aplomb as a flashback takes us to the exact same characters in the same location. But this time the suited man shows our lead some very incriminating video evidence of his nearest and dearest.

On the technical side, the director deftly uses handheld camera to give the short gritty realism whilst the brief fight scene is well edited which provides it with a brutal edge.

The film also has all the strong elements of a thriller here too. A mystery set up. Criminals in dark alleys. A henchman fight. I suppose for me though there was nothing particularly new added to this mix of these often-seen genre staples. And although functional, the script could have been given one more pass to drop a few clichés (“we’re monsters”, “we had a deal”). However, given the run-time the lines may have been direct and to the point to keep its quick tempo.

The fast pace does keep the momentum up and we are pushed to a dramatic conclusion. The editing throughout is also strong so as to slowly reveal the layers of the secrets it sets up. Kudos should also go to the stark film noir lighting which can be difficult on a low budget but is more than successfully pulled off here.

Betrayal therefore ends up being a solid short crime story. The best thing for me was the dexterity of the director trying lots of cinematic techniques to further his skill. In just 8 minutes we get a well-constructed story, action, drama and sadness – all delivered with great technical capability from someone who knows the genre well.

So although this is the first film I’ve seen from “French Director” (actually West Midlands filmmaker Idi Assoumanou I believe), from the promising talent I’ve seen in Betrayal, I certainly don’t think it will be my last.

Michael Sales

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