Mute Witness

This is the kind of film I know I shouldn't like, but it's so enjoyable to teeter on the edge of your seat, even when you have to laugh at the obvious predictability of events as they progress. If you can't laugh, don't go.

Not quite up to par (meaning not at all) with earlier prototypes for directorial debut in the category of low-budget thriller (site Romero's Night of the the Living Dead or Carpenter's Halloween) Anthony Waller does his best to turn this into an event by cavorting through the halls of an empty Russian filmstudio with a number of well-known Russian actors. Cleverly, he casts an accomplished actress in the role of mute special-effects make-up girl.

Obviously there will be no problem with her mastery of the English language (or even her accent, come to that). Write in a slasher movie, a snuff movie, the Moscow police, the Russian mafia, and make sure you don't forget the KGB in order to create utter confusion. Let's hope we get a chance to see Marina Sudina and Oleg Jankowskij performing sometime in the future more extensively.

Waller has directed more than 100 commercials for cinema and television which probably accounts for his rapid-fire style. Technically interesting footage and fast paced editing manage to keep the viewer enraptured (captured?) as if moving through a cinema size video game, but the poor actors onscreen never really get a chance to reveal what one can sense brewing beneath their surface performances: talent.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett