Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the horror/thriller SOLACE by director Afonso Poyart.  To be describe the story I will turn to a slightly modified IMDB plot summary:

“A retired psychic is asked to work with the FBI on a case involving a serial killer who exhibits abilities of his own.” 

While the conceit is certainly not novel, an investigator hunts a criminal who is just like them, the actual killer we are presented with is much more interesting than the typical procedural trappings. Here we have a killer who has fully justified his own beliefs and exists in a sort of gray area where we can very clearly see how he might be correct.  I will not give away his motivations, but I will say that by the end I wished that he had spent more time on screen as his interactions with our psychic were fascinating to watch.

With a lead in like that, I guess I should probably comment on the acting a bit.  Overall, I thought the portrayals given by the leads were good in this film, but only Colin Farrell stood out as great. The rest of the main cast was solid, but it was hard to separate their performances from the many different things I have seen them all in before.  I feel like this overfamiliarity with the actors and the parts they have played in the past is the reason I enjoyed the smaller portrayals given by Farrell or the supporting cast members.

From a composition standpoint, I found this film to be a bit of a mystery.  Beautiful, thrilling dream or action sequences were given long, elegant shots that focused heavily on framing and style.  In between these moments, the more story driven sections have an aggravatingly drifting camera that occasionally zooms in or our on a character as if they are trying to create motion. The fact that the faster and more dreamlike portions do not use the same tricks causes the drifting camera to stick out like a sore thumb.

Since I have yet to discuss the actual story, allow me to talk about that for a moment.  There are quite a few typical procedural moves that have become run of the mill on television shows, but the general idea and action sequences were better than most of those programs.  What elevates it above more typical fare is that the characters were well thought out, there were some nice surprises along the way, and the conclusion felt mostly satisfying from a character standpoint.  There was a minor stumble int he closing scene when they decided to cram in a late reveal with little to no impact, but apart from that the scripting was pretty good.

All in all, this is not so revolutionary as to change the face of horror, but there is some beautiful imagery and a great killer at play.  I do wish we had gotten to spend more time with our slasher as I found him to be the most interesting aspect of this movie, the rest of the cast does a good job of carrying things until he steps into the frame.  Fans of THE GIFT (2000) and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) will find some similar ideas in this feature.

SOLACE will be available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD Tuesday, March 14

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