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Crime Screen Movie Suggestion: Scalene

August 31, 2012 at 11:42 am by  

HERE, NOW – You may be as surprised as we are to learn that we occasionally get free movies and books to review. I mention this because, in full disclosure, SCALENE was sent to us by Breaking Glass Pictures to review. But do not fear, DD reader, as I would never risk damaging my reputation for providing excellent choices in movies and books by recommending crap just to get free stuff.

In the case of SCALENE, a film directed by Zack Parker, I can honestly say you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. Not only does it delve into a bit of the headlines often featured on this site, as well as some of the re-occurring discussions they produce, but Margo Martindale delivers one of the best performances I have seen all year. Here’s the official synopsis:

Told from three points-of-view, SCALENE is a perceptual thriller that revolves around a mother’s revenge (Margo Martindale, Emmy  Winner, F/X’s “JUSTIFIED”, Showtime’s “DEXTER”, MILLION DOLLAR BABY) after her mentally-challenged son (Adam Scarimbolo, A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, LYMELIFE, STAKE LAND) is accused of sexual assault by his student caretaker (Hanna Hall, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN, FORREST GUMP). This critically acclaimed independent film has been applauded for its strong performances, gripping storyline, and unique structure that takes audiences on a moviewatching experience they have never had before..

My drug-addled brain must have purged out the definition of “scalene” as the term was familiar, but I had to do a quick Google search to find out. I learned that scalene is not a STD, as I had thought, but rather a triangle with uneven sides — making this a perfect title for this movie. As the synopsis states, SCALENE is a movie consisting of three versions of the same, tragic story and starts exactly as the trailer does below; an older woman, armed with a gun, confronting a young girl in her home.

From there the film works backwards from the older woman’s point of view, detailing how she ended up at this girl’s home. You learn that the woman is Janice Trimble, a single mother raising Jakob, a 26-year-old man with a cognitive brain injury that leaves him with no ability to communicate or care for himself. She hires a young college student, Paige, to babysit Jakob throughout the week so she can go out and get things done, including spending time with her new boyfriend. After her son is accused of raping Paige and ultimately taken from her, she resorts to what you see in the opening scene. Since this is Janice’s point of view, she paints herself in a sympathetic light and seems like a wronged woman justified in her extreme actions.

The second segment is Jakob’s story. Because of the way Jakob’s brain now functions, the story is disjointed and not exactly linear. While it is the shortest of the three stories, you do get a good idea of how Jakob perceives his surroundings and the people in it, plus you get some backstory that include how he received his brain injury and how life for him at home is afterwards.

This leads to the final segment from the perspective of Paige. It’s the longest of the three stories and moves forward to when Janice comes a knockin’. It doesn’t play out the way you think it will, and clouds up events shown in Janice’s story. It details how differently she sees Janice and her relationship with Jakob, and doesn’t paint Janice in a real positive light. Paige really takes a liking to Jakob and wants nothing but the best for him, but we all know what the road to Hell is paved with, and her decisions end up setting off a chain of disastrous events.

This is the only portion of the entire movie I have issues with. It’s engaging and well acted, but Paige’s actions just don’t fit her character. But if running this site has taught me anything, it’s that you should never be surprised at the lowest level of stupidity seemingly intelligent people are capable of reaching. Because of this, I was able to swallow Paige’s ultimate conclusions a bit better than some of the film’s detractors, even though I had to force them down a bit.

So give SCALENE a go. It’s not a happy story by any means, but does deal with subject matter that is often discussed on this site. Especially when dealing with multiple sides of the same story. It’s also very well made and contains great performances from the entire cast, especially Margo Martindale, who is absolutely amazing. If you happen to watch it, please comment as I would love to discuss Paige’s side of the story. You can pick up SCALENE on Bluray or DVD, or rent it from Amazon for 3.99.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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  • akirexo

    Sounds interesting. I’ll be adding this to my Netflix Queue now.

  • http://www.dreamindemon.com Morbid

    Be sure to come back and let me know what you thought.

  • akirexo

    Will do. :)

  • sweekymom

    Margo Martindale absolutely made the second season of Justified. It was one of the most chilling performances I’ve ever seen, but at the same time I kinda felt for her. She was brilliant. I will definitely take a look at this. And if you haven’t seen Justified, it’s not to be missed.

  • http://hawtmamas.wordpress.com/ hawtmamma

    I illegally downloaded it and can TOTALLY relate! I have a very special boy in my life too!

  • CT

    I watched this on Amazon Prime (free, oh how I love you Amazon Prime). I will try to talk about this movie without giving away much. When I watch a movie, I often pay attention to things others don’t care about – one of them being the sound track – most people think, ah who gives a shit, but instead of detracting from this movie with some melodramatic crap, the sound track gave something more to this movie. It gave the story more of an edge at times and kept me in that state, oh shit, really? I constantly felt on edge. Couple of things that stood out – I went into this thinking that I would be siding with one character and ended with a completely different opinion of all those involved. I do think that people really will go to extreme lengths to do what they believe is right. Though the movie left me wondering whether Paige had her doubts at the end. I was also surprised to see how the main character ended up the way he is – Christ, kids are so fucking stupid and truly never think that their actions will result in anything negative. Not even remotely the same concept but it reminded me of the teenager on the FP today. I don’t really want to say much more because I would give some key things away but I left this movie feeling on edge but that wasn’t a bad thing. I would definitely say it was worth watching. It was hard for me at first to get into the story moving from end to the back to the beginning but you get it after the first 10 minutes into it and it works.

  • Southern Lady Again

    Hello Morbid. I don’t know if you remember me. It’s been a year since I’ve been on, but I’ve moved back to
    America, getting back on my feet after a decade in South Africa.
    I do take suggestions to watch movies, as I use to help run a movie critique site. And for this one, I have to give you great thanks. The acting was superb. From the very beginning, I believed the mother with her intensity, yet in the end, I felt for Paige. I do understand where she felt her responsibility lay. I don’t consider it near stupidity. She actually wanted to take him out of his hurtful environment, which also says, she would not make such a great sociologist. If you get too involved with the personalities, it most certainly have an impact on your own life.
    As for Jakob, I, too, was an idiot a few times in my youth, the lovely 70s. I sniffed. And I am damned glad I escaped the consequences of intense brain trauma, at least for that reason. The stroke came later.
    None the less, I felt that Margo Martindale should be given an Oscar right now this minute. I felt her. I felt her pain, her anguish, yet was disgusted by her actions. Not for wanting to take out the antagonist, mind you, but for the abuse she lay on her son in the first place, what with losing her men, her life, her existence.
    Sure, this might sound a bit mundane, but I wanted to thank you for your recommendation. It’s good to be back.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/AngelsMom0806 Angels Mom

    Damn reading is fundamental because my dum tail just wasted 5 minutes looking on the Nook then went to Kindle looking for this book.

    (late) Merry Christmas Morbid and I hope that you have a happy NY.

    I just put it in my queue, as soon as I kick out my son so that he can go sledding I’m going to watch it and come back with my way beneath Siskel (RIP) & Ebert-esque review.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/AngelsMom0806 Angels Mom

    Alrighty, I watched it last night/this morning and I must admit…I was pleasantly surprised. From the very first scene the film catches your attention. It shows younthe ending and from there it takes us on a journey through three different points of view, of the same events as they unfold. The mother of a 26 y/o son with a disability. The son and HS 21 y/o caretaker.

    The one thing that I didn’t like was the very last scene, but that’s because those are irksome to me.

    The movie was very well done. I absolutely loved the camera work and the music. At some point the soundtrack had an Alfred Hitchcock feel to it.

    I found the acting to be well done until we are forced to deal with the caretaker and her family. That restaurant scene between mother and daughter seemed forced, they had no chemistry and it felt as if the director had to hire those actors as a blackmail favor to someone. Aside from that it kept my attention ad actually had me wanting to know how this all began.

    The scene where the facts of the main event are revealed are quite disturbing though.

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