The Big Something

The Big Something


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Lewis (Michael Coleman) works in a record shop. He also sleeps there, thanks to his friendship with its owner, Marcus, who doesn't seem in a hurry to get him to move on. The shop is his life. When, one morning, Marcus is found dead, his life falls to pieces. New boss April wants to see the back of him. The police write off the death as suicide. It's up to Lewis to take control of his life again and try to uncover the truth.

The classic film noir drifter updated for the modern age, Lewis is a character with lots of potential; it's a shame he's played so ham-fistedly by Coleman, who seems so intent on making him a buffoon that he forgets to make him a believable person. This is, sadly, just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad acting, which lets down a film that has quite a bit going for it in other ways. Mina Mirkhah shows some potential as the perpetually angry April but struggles with clumsily delivered cues. There is nary a scene where the clumsiness of the performances doesn't get in the way of the story, making it impossible to suspend diselief.

Beyond this, the film has the usual problems associated with low budget productions, poorly balanced sound being the most notable. It does make good use of locations and some thought has gone into the lighting design. There are also some genuinely effective bits of framing in amongst the various homage shots that tie the film to both mystery and slapstick comedy traditions. It's clear that it has been shot in a hurry but competent editing goes some way toward compensating for this.

Story-wise, this is both better structured and more substantial than others of its ilk. Writer/director Travis Mills has successfully made the transition from shorts without creating a film that feels padded. Unfortunately there are still inconsistencies in the script and the atmosphere isn't strong enough for the film to get away with them. The Big Something feels awkward and self-conscious, laughing at its own jokes, and its better dialogue is largely ruined in the delivery.

Overall, this feels like a draft version of a project that needs much firmer handling if it is to shape up into something audiences will want to watch.

Reviewed on: 15 Feb 2012
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When his boss dies mysteriously and the police write it off as suicide, a record store clerk becomes determined to find out the truth.

Director: Travis Mills

Writer: Travis Mills, Ryan Gaumont

Starring: Michael Coleman, Mina Mirkhah, Rob Edwards, Sandy Kim, Michael Harrelson, Dean Veglia, Scott Scheall

Year: 2011

Runtime: 101 minutes

Country: US


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