I’m not going to lie; PIECES OF TALENT was difficult to review. Not because it was poorly crafted or difficult to endure – quite the opposite was true. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place with what I’m dying to reveal to its potential audience members (and guaranteed fans), and what I acknowledge respectfully about its genius vision. I’m electing to keep my mouth shut.
PIECES OF TALENT describes itself as “beautiful horror,” and it is exactly that. There are moments that froze me, mesmerized. What might come as a surprise to my fans: I’m not a big fan of gore. PIECES OF TALENT’s gore is stunning – I actually wanted to watch it, every second of it – I had no desire to look away (except for the glass-shard-in-bare-foot moment – yikes!). As a filmmaker, there were two specific scenes involving practicals that actually had me pining to figure out how they did that.
Director and co-writer Joe Stauffer loves the art of film. It’s evident in his framing, his pacing, and his capturing of moving particles of light. You can see this, clearly, in his vision for PIECES OF TALENT. Keep an eye on this guy – a cinematic brain like that won’t vacation for long.
Let’s move on to the acting. How about that mysterious “David Long”? If you’re like me, you won’t be able to take your eyes off him. I’ve read multiple reviews stating he’s up there among the top film villains… Yes. Golly gee, YES! He’s a member in your audience while you’re not paying attention. Hell, in some sort of psych-out film noir trickery, his reverence for his craft makes you want to participate. Watch him. And revel in it with me.
The younger me completely identified with Charlotte (actor Kristi Ray)’s longing for something more than the banality life kept tossing tauntingly her way. That said, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have gotten in that van, though…
Actor Barbara Weetman is to be commended, as well. She brings a lived-in, gritty despair to her character. Does she love her daughter? Yes. Does she show it? No. Getting to experience such command of character at these budget levels is refreshing.
If David Long is this film’s brain and body, then the music score is its heartbeat and breath. The music cues drive the story forward, bathe the bloodied visuals in purpose, and lull the viewer in comforting audio warmth. The sounds of David Long’s mentally perverse synapse soundtrack are as fitting as cicadas on those sticky summer nights. It belongs.
Does this film have a couple of clichéd characters? Yes. I found their existence in the plot necessary; but, their over-the-top nature diminished the intended dark humor. Thankfully, David Long doesn’t bat an eye. His steady focus keeps the brilliant patchwork stitched.
Fans of NBC’s HANNIBAL will flock to PIECES OF TALENT. Beautiful horror, indeed. I’ll leave you with two bits of advice from David Long: “Follow your dreams,” and I am. “I want you to like it,” and I do. Now, GO SEE THIS FILM …and look behind you on your way.
PIECES OF TALENT is directed by Joe Stauffer and stars David Long, Barbara Weetman, Shane Callahan, Kristy Ray and Jon Stafford. Look for it in select theaters on June 6th.
The Official PIECES OF TALENT Trailer (and lots of extra morsels) can be devoured here: http://piecesoftalent.com/
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