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The Mentor - Movie Review

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The Mentor

If a white van ever rolls up to your local neighborhood hospital and the drivers, wearing all sorts of fowl-themed masks, start throwing out wounded people you probably should keep to your own business . . . or, if you are feeling creative,  grab your phone, point it at the action, and hit record.  

After all, The Mentor, written and directed by Moez Solis, encourages us all to be filmmakers.  

"Cinephiles and creative types will enjoy The Mentor for its message, but the whip-smart script is far more intelligent than most of its audience"


If only it were that easy.  Following one’s dreams - especially when it comes to making movies - requires lots of determination, grit, and money.  Unfortunately, the characters, complete with meta-aware dialogue, at the center of The Mentor are going to find this out the hard way.  

This dark comedy, with all its concerns about sound design, color corrections, and being like Werner Herzog, does exactly what independent films should do: push the boundaries.  The direction and the script are both top-notch, offering a very meta-rich look into filmmaking that gets more rewarding with each subsequent viewing.

Nilah (Brandi Nicole Payne) is meant to make movies.  So, when she bumps into and winds up saving acclaimed indie filmmaker Claire Adams (Liz Sklar), she feels destiny calling.  She takes every bit of advice she can get from Claire, who agrees to look over her awful screenplay, and soaks it up, eager to correct her film schooled ways. {googleads}

But Mr. Owl (Mike Bash), Mr. Raven (Michael James Kelly), Mrs. Hawk (Julie Lockfield), Mr. Emu (Santiago Rosas), and Mr. Pigeon (Corey Jackson) have other plans for the two, kidnapping them in the hopes that these two can help them finish their own film.  Hold tight, though, the trip into the battles between writers and directors and producers is only just beginning.

Out of money and desperate for a salvageable ending, these fowl-masked kidnappers believe Claire’s mother (Mary Ann Rodgers), who has financed all her other non-profitable pictures, will pay the ransom.  The struggles of independent filmmaking are real!  

But all is not well within the kidnapper’s ring.  There’s murder, there’s deceit, and - like all producers - there’s a whole lot of attitudes about how to best use the money to fix their film.  Sometimes the attitudes work.  Sometimes they come off as very, very irksome.  Yet, when the entire troupe arrives at Claire’s mother’s house to get the $30,000, the attitudes seem to pay off as they are dealing with an actress who is very much into her method acting.The Mentor

While the two female leads keep their cool (most of the time) and deliver solid performances (especially Liz Sklar), the main issue with completely appreciating this movie comes from the actors who play the kidnappers.  Their dialogue and delivery is just a bit “off” at times and it makes for an uncomfortable watch as some of the comedic beats aren’t clear and neither is the danger or the unexpected violence that awaits the viewer. 

It also makes Solis’ absurdist look at the process involved in making a movie struggle to come through with complete clarity, that is until the very last arc - when the film goes right for the jugular - and opens up the veil.  Cinephiles and creative types will enjoy The Mentor for its message, but the whip-smart script is far more intelligent than most of its audience.  This isn’t a bad thing, but it will limit its appreciative audience.

Always end with a death.  Playing out the clichés, writer-director Moez Solis’ comedic thriller, The Mentor, is now available on VOD, including Amazon Prime.

4/5 stars

The Mentor

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor:
Available on Blu-ray

Screen Formats:
Subtitles
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Discs:
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The Mentor

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
74 mins
Director
: Moez Solis
Writer:
Moez Solis
Cast:
Brandi Nicole Payne, Liz Sklar, Mike Bash
Genre
: Thriller
Tagline:
Kidnapping is anti-kidnapping.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Let's get right to it. It's unoriginal, boring, and predictable."
Distributor:
Amazon Prime
Official Site: https://thementor.fanlink.to/watchnow
Release Date:
April 22, 2020
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Nilah Williams, a wanna-be screenwriter and Oakland filmmaker, wants to make her first feature but feels locked out of the movie system. By chance, she runs into her idol, a famous, but haughty female director, Claire Adams, and happens to land a mentorship for the day.

Nilah's lucky day turns nightmarish when a crew of kidnappers seizes Claire and takes her along for the ride. But in a play for power, money, and fame, the kidnapper's plan begins to fall apart when their mysterious boss informs them the abduction has a secret purpose besides ransom. With a chance to escape, Nilah must decide between saving herself or her newly found mentor..

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The Mentor

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