Daniel Strange, Rodeo Strange
Daniel Strange, Rodeo Strange
Imagine this. You awake to find yourself tied to a chair, within a ridiculously creepy and unfamiliar room. You're not alone however, right beside you is your equally helpless husband or wife. What comes first? Anger or fear? Or are the two emotions rippling through your body in equal amounts - each fighting for dominance? It's only when your captors emerge, and you realize this isn't a joke, fear slowly begins to win the battle. This kind of thing just doesn't happen to people like me... right? The famous delusions of grandeur so many of us secretly have. Things like this happen to other people - until it actually does happen to you.
Now, imagine you're not the everyday John Smith from Every-man Drive - that you are in fact, a huge celebrity. This sort of thing never happens to movie stars until yet again... it does. Do they want money? Fame? A role in our next film? Ryan Sterling and Amara Giovanni, a celebrity power couple, are about to find out. Only this horrific scene isn't out of a movie they're starring in - it's real life and their captors? Let's just say that their wants and needs go far beyond gaining a few extra bucks. This is "The Great Charade" from Daniel and Rodeo Strange - and I had a blast watching it.
This is a film that hits you with a double edged scenario. It takes the horror of being kidnapped, and adds on layer after layer... after layer. For starters, the victims here are movie stars. What better way to add drama - than to victimize a couple that are used to getting exactly what they want. Perhaps incredibly scary for them... but for us viewers there is a certain sense of karma. The big cheese's finally getting a taste of their own medicine. Now, adding a little more to the dramatic soup, is that these characters don't actually seem to like one and other very much. Although this fact plays into the title of the film, it creates a certain amount of uncertainty within the movie. Will one sell out the other? And at what cost? It's all very dramatic, and paced out rather nicely. The short and sweet of this review? I think this flick will appeal to a lot of people - and had absolutely no problem holding my attention. When you stop to consider that this is essentially a single location, full length feature... that's saying quite a lot.
The technical side of the coin was smartly handled here. Low budget? No problem, we'll cut down the locations. Sounds good for the pocketbook but honestly, this film could have went the other way. I'm sure any viewer will tell you that holding someones attention in a single room is tough enough. Even tougher for a full ninety minutes. That's why I can't stress enough, how much of an amazing job the casting here was. A small handful of people in a small space... and yet my attention never wavered. Ricardo Freitas and Francesca Louise White nailed the roles of the celebrity couple with problems. Ego, entitlement and yes folks, even fear - are all represented and handled excellently. What more could you ask from a leading couple. I'll admit, it's always fun watching actors playing actors playing true faces behind the celebrity. Did I get that right?
As for our baddies? Yup. Crazy town, both of them. For completely different reasons, but you'll have no problem believing Marcus Davis-Orrom and Candice Palladino have stepped off the crazy train. No problem at all. I'll admit that occasionally, it did feel a little much - but I suspect that was the idea. A touch of class and a bunch of crazy? You bettcha - and I loved it.
At the end of the day? I did struggle a bit with my thoughts on a rating. I went back and forth from three and a half to four stars. Obviously, I went with the higher... but only just. No matter how you slice it however, even a three and a half is a great star count - but I had to keep in mind how difficult it actually is - to hold the attention of a person using one room! Sure - the film has to look and sound good, but so many other factors have to be at play to accomplish that. I won't lie. Although embellished with Daniel and Rodeo Strange's flares, the story itself isn't terribly unique. But it did work for me and that's all that really matters. In my humble opinion, "The Great Sharade" has earned it's four star review. A pretty great flick all around. No question.