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Film Review: Trakked (2014)

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SYNOPSIS:

A Sci-Fi Dark Comedy that follows several characters all interlocked by one another, some unknowingly. And those blindly persuaded by the agenda of a young handsome man who charms his way into the hearts of woman.

REVIEW:

After a chance meeting in a public park, surveillance-specialist April (Pamela Sutch) begins a hesitant relationship with children’s entertainer, Troy (Eric Annunziato). After only a few brief dates, he shows up on her doorstep, claiming he has been evicted and needs a place to stay. April, too nice to turn him down, reluctantly lets him stay, but soon finds his behaviour and late hours suspicious. When he’s passed out drunk one night, she inserts a homemade tracking device into his head, allowing her to see what he does via her laptop.

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It doesn’t take long for her to catch him having an affair with pretty Sheela (Jade Elysan), and April swiftly throws him out of the house, citing personal issues as the reason. With the device still in his head, April continues to monitor Troy’s pathetic life. He has set himself up in Sheela’s house, but the constant attention needed by her sick mother seems to be putting him on edge. One night, April sees what she thinks is an attempted murder on her laptop – Troy strangling Sheela’s invalid mother. Could he really be capable of murder? Or does April need to be careful and not believe everything she is seeing on her screen?

It’s almost hard to know where to start with a film like Trakked. Watching low and no budget films for years helps you turn down the critical dial in your head that you normally apply to films that had had bag loads of money thrown at them. You become a bit more forgiving over editing choices. You don’t wince quite so hard at a badly delivered line. You even become accustomed to consumer grade cameras being used to shoot it. Unfortunately for this film, the problems run far too deep to ignore.

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Firstly, the script carries no sense of momentum, with characters often doing little at the start of scenes, seemingly waiting for another actor to pop in to push things along. There’s no natural flow to the film, and by the 15 or 20 minute mark you are struggling to maintain interest. Too many scenes just feel unnecessary, filled with meandering dialogue or action that could have been tightened up easily with a few more drafts of the screenplay.

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This extends to the scattershot nature of the tone and performances. The film describes itself as a ‘sci-fi comedy thriller’, with lurches into horror in the final act, but none of these genres ever come close enough to the surface for the viewer to really engage. It’s hard to tell what is supposed to be comedy or played straight here, as most performances are below par. Pamela Sutch (who also wrote, directed and produced) is one of the weakest links, here, and Eric Annunziato as Troy doesn’t do much better. Some of the minor characters feel a bit more alive, such as Squeaky Moore as the no-nonsense best friend and Rose Fiore as the invalid mother. The direction feels nonexistent for much of the running time, with only a few scenes showing something of promise.

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The thing is; there might have been something worth exploring within the context of what the film is reaching for. It wants to be a satire on modern day technology, and how it is used all around us. From the implausible device inserted in Troy’s head, to the references to mobile tracking devices, internet marketing tactics and the ultimate message of ‘don’t believe everything you see on your TV’, but this all gets buried under uninteresting characters and their uninteresting lives. Why give us inane dialogue and student film-style twists and plotting when you have more interesting things to discuss and explore?

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The best scene in the whole film is actually the last scene. We suddenly get something that feels well shot, edited and directed, but sadly this is literally the last moments of the whole film before the credits roll. Is it worth struggling through 105 minutes to get to it? Well, that choice is up to you. Personally, unless you know the people who are involved in the project, I wouldn’t waste my time.

 

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