Andrew Hunsicker, Jake Hunsicker
It all starts with what to the police... looks like a textbook suicide. Open and shut. For newly promoted detective Alvarez however, something doesn't feel quite right... and a photograph in the hand of the jumper only amplifies that feeling. As the film settles in, we learn that this photograph is actually a picture of three people - all of who seem to be turning up dead - one even dies on live television. And then there's the question of how the person this film labels as, "The Pitchman" fits into this seemingly standard cop thriller. The answer doesn't truly come to light until the very end and to put it mildly, "The Arrangement" is one of those movies that doesn't reveal its true self until the final act. Everything in-between is meant to point you in another direction, with a few clues scattered around to hold it all together. I'm not even going to hint at the big reveal because frankly, it's worth seeing for yourself.
As I started this film, "The Arrangement" was one of those movies that for me, took a while to get going in a proper manner. I'll be honest, the first few minutes really were, not all that promising. By no means am I writing that this film starts off badly, only that it really gets going at some point during the second act. I don't know the exact time I started to really get fully invested, only that it was a little later in the film. But at first, it all felt a little... awkward - and then there was also that scene close to the start of the film - where an assistant was being interviewed. Let me just say that it was a little... much. I also noticed an overuse of background scoring that kept bringing me out of the film. Eventually, as I wrote above, these occasional instances just seemed to stop... or I just didn't notice them anymore. My point is this... "The Arrangement" went from an okay film to a really good one - and my rating reflects that. For those looking for a solid police based thriller, give this flick a chance and it will surprise you - it will also give you a little something more before it's done. Call it... a slight change in genre.
The production aspects of this film leave very little to actually discuss. For the most part, it looks and sounds pretty good. Perhaps a little tinny here and there, but that could have been the fault of my television. I did think that perhaps "The Arrangement" ran a little long - but only just. Once the film finds its groove and picks up, what's left goes lightning fast. I couldn't help but wonder if the movie was edited slightly differently... more aggressively, the slight reduction in length would have really made a difference - mainly during the first act. But like all opinions and thoughts, this one is only mine.
Now, here's where things get good - aside from the occasional over-drama, "The Arrangement" features some very good acting. For a lower-budget film, the performances were much better than I had expected. I personally loved the Harry Frick character, and thought Danny Donnelly's portrayal reminded me of one of my personal favorite actors, Jeffrey Combs. But leading lady Jennifer M. Kay definitely managed to own the screen also, her performance felt real, down to earth. The truth is that for the most part, everyone in the film pulls their collective weight and because of that, this movie really feels larger, budget-wise, than it probably was. Writing and directing only go so far and without a troupe of talented people in front of the camera, things go wonky really fast.
At the end of the day? Maybe a little bloated around the edges with a lot going on, but by no means is this a hard film to follow. Excluding, obviously, the big reveal. Andrew and Jake Hunsicker present a gritty, borderline noir flick - with a big twist and a lot of heart. I've seen big-budget movies that only touch on what "The Arrangement" has to offer to those who stick around past the half-hour mark. This movie is not what you think... well, not exactly. Thumbs up to the cast and crew - four stars.