A proxy is defined as a representative, a substitute, if you will. Which person fills this role in Zack Parker’s newest feature, PROXY, I’ll leave up to you…
I’d like you to go into this film with no expectations, no idea of what you’re about to encounter (or should I say endure). No matter, whatever preconceived notions you may develop will continually evaporate from scene to scene. This is film misdirection at its finest.
I began watching PROXY by preparing a snack – pita bread and garden spaghetti sauce, if you must know – and physically placed my food back in its bowl within the first four minutes of screen time. The violence in this film is unsettling, yet never even comes close to teetering toward “gore.”
Horror / Sci-Fi fans will recognize every member of the main cast: Alexia Rasmussen (Glass Eye Pix’s THE COMEDY), Alexa Havins (BBC’s TORCHWOOD), Joe Swanberg (Liongate’s YOU’RE NEXT), Kristina Klebe (Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN). Who do you think plays the lead? You’re wrong. That’s okay… I was wrong, too.
This expert cast had me in a constant state of wondering, “Has everyone gone mad?” A scene-stealing Erika Hoveland, in a brief, yet pivotal role as a social worker – here comes another misdirect – unwittingly becomes the catalyst to a bizarre progression of events that snake their way to the film’s finale.
Let’s talk production: The pan at 15 minutes – focus pulling, timing, the actor’s staying in character – the complex coordination involved in such a seemingly-simple shot – is indicative of the entire film’s prowess: You would have no idea an onion’s power to make you cry just by looking at it. A jaw-dropping, cataclysmic scene in a shopping mall (which was entirely quiet, voyeuristic, and calm) – I wish I’d written that. PROXY’s script is inspirational.
Alexia Rasmussen really kicks in at the 42 minute mark. Mistakenly, I thought there may have been a mismatch in casting. I’m very proud to say: I was wrong. I love when a film can trick me, show me something I haven’t seen, surprise me with something I didn’t expect. In a shining example of classic film noir, I found myself siding consistently with the wrong person – they were all the wrong person.
If I had to choose a cinematic description to hold in your mind while watching, I’d say this: Picture an Alfred Hitchcock framework possessed by a Christopher Nolan brain. Dollies, pans, tilts, and slow-motion fill the screen beautifully. As a filmmaker, I’m always studying the art of showing the passage of time; and, the montage at 55 minutes is one of the best examples I’ve seen.
Even with its technical mastery, I’d say the highest compliment I can give PROXY is: I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And I loved every minute of those mistakes. See this film as soon as possible, so you can be mistaken, too.
PROXY is directed by Zack Parker and stars Joe Swanberg, Alexa Havins, Kristina Klebe and Alexia Rasmussen. It is available in limited theaters and on demand courtesy of IFC Films.
The Official PROXY website: http://www.proxythemovie.com/