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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DVD Review: Junction

Junction is an exceptional, exciting, intense character-driven thriller about a simple burglary that escalates into a hostage situation, but is about so much more.

Junction begins with a bit of voice over narration describing a childhood nightmare, whose main image has never quite disappeared. Then during the opening credits we see a group of four people in car, in a series of close-ups from outside the car. Each person is isolated, from us because of the barrier of the windows, and from each other through the choice of single shots. None of them is talking.

They arrive at the home of their drug dealer, and David (Tom Pelphrey), the driver, goes in. He doesn’t have the money and asks for the drugs as a favor. It’s revealed through the dialogue that David and the dealer went through rehab together, which is a nice touch. The film, though intense, actually has many humorous touches like that. What’s wonderful about those moments is that they don’t lessen or destroy the tension, but in some ways actually add to it, because these moments show that even comedy is robbed of its ability to solve, or even ease the situation.

Tai (Anthony Ruivivar), the dealer, mentions that he wants to get a television for his mother’s birthday, so David sees that as an opportunity to get the crystal meth that he and his three friends are desperate for. So the four of them break into the house of a family that had recently moved in (figuring the family likely hadn't installed alarms yet). David finds a large flat-screen television and puts it in the car. Donald (Neal Bledsoe) has meanwhile found an older style television in the attic, and they decide to use that as a back-up in case Tai doesn’t want a flat-screen.

David, Kari (Summer Crockett Moore) and Spot (Harris Doran) wait in the car, but it is taking Donald way too long to bring down the other television. While Spot urges them to just leave him, their loyalty to their friend causes them all to go back into the house. By then, the older television isn’t even necessary, as David has talked to Tai on the phone, and Tai said the flat-screen would be fine. So we as audience members just want Donald to get out of there. But in the meantime Donald has discovered some videos in the machine of the older television, and now his goals have changed.

Donald makes David promise that if the cops do nothing about what they’ve discovered, that they themselves will take care of it. But then, as they are finally leaving the house, the man, Connor (Anthony Rapp) arrives home, followed soon by his wife, Jennifer (Sharon Maguire), and young daughter, Mia (Danielle Kotch). And what was going to be a simple robbery turns into a hostage situation, when Donald flips out.

This is a totally intense film with excellent performances by the entire cast. The relationships are so interesting, and change throughout the film. These are well-defined relationships, and that includes that between the two main cops (played by David Zayas and Michael O’Keefe). They’re given a lot to work with, including a bit of a back story that comes into play with how they handle this situation. Basically, the plot is really well thought out, with layers that make it feel much more real. The cops aren’t just cops. The thieves aren’t just thieves. And the victims certainly aren’t just victims. Everyone has depth which makes this film not your average thriller.

Bonus Features

The DVD includes The Making Of “Junction,” which features interviews with a lot of the cast, including Summer Crockett Moore (who was also a producer on this project), Neal Bledsoe, Tom Pelphrey, Harris Doran (who mentions how the cast had a week of rehearsals) and Sharon Maguire. Key crew members are also interviewed, including writer/director Tony Glazer, Adrian Correia (the cinematographer, who talks about the film noir elements in the look of the film), Austin Wintory (the composer), and Pat Patterson (a producer). They talk about the effects of crystal meth, and how the makeup really helped the actors get into character. This special feature is thirty-two minutes.

The DVD also includes the film’s trailer.

Junction was written and directed by Tony Glazer, and was released on DVD on April 22, 2014 through Grand Entertainment Group.

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