It was a privilege to be able to watch this festival contender outside of the festival circuit and in doing so I was given a much more personal experience with the feature, meaning that I was capable of rewatching scenes that I wouldn't have been able to in a theater setting. Before I move forward to the overview of the film, I would like to say up front that the filmmakers involved with this feature represented their skills adroitly within the limitations they had with Caretakers; basically what I’m saying is that if given a slightly larger scale for future projects, I truly believe that either of the filmmakers involved could create something incredibly special down the road. Now, on to Caretakers...
Caretakers is an impressively directed low-budget indie that showcases the finesse and creativity that the duo behind the camera possesses. In Caretakers, every shot appears to have been filmed with a deep sense of deliberation behind the scenes, making sure that every scene is as polished as it can be. The film is assisted by the sharp editing by editors Andrew Kadikian and Mike Lowther, giving the pacing a pleasantly concurrent flow, even when occasional story issues were to occur. It’s important for me to get the point across that first time directors George Loomis and Elias Talbot should be incredibly proud of the film they’ve created, as well as the prospects this film opens to the eyes of the viewers for future work down the road.
A young medical student who struggles with detaching himself from his patients is given his hardest challenge to date-- help an unwilling man have faith again. In desperate need of a cardiac donor, Jones must make his newest patient believe in himself and cast all concerns aside about the costly surgery he is being surveyed for. With time together the two build a quick bond and construct an agreement to make the both of them come out successful in the end. An outrageous twist and unfortunate circumstances quickly derail everything Jones has been working for...or so he thinks. Throughout Caretakers there are multiple character plot holes that can’t really be ignored, such as the father and his link with Syria, the coincidence that the ambassador is from Syria, or the dead animals spread across the home Jones inhabits; these are just a few of the needless questions left unanswered. While the film takes a bit to build with tension, the end result is an intriguing thriller that may not be for some, while managing to hit the nail right on the head for others. The script possesses a fascinating plot guided by the twist at the end to solidify it, however the issues with several characters neglecting situations that happened just scenes prior was a little off putting. An example that comes to mind is when Jones forgets to acknowledge his troubles with alcohol several days prior when questioned about his sobriety. Little things like this within the plot take away from the flow of the direction, as the direction seems to always have a constant majestic dynamic intention, utilizing skills with the camerawork similar to that of more experienced filmmakers.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Unfortunately for the film, some of the dialogue comes off a tiny bit stiff or forced, although the characters themselves are pretty solid. At times, emotions aren’t projected properly, having stalled reactions to situations happening on screen, which can create a sense of awkwardness between certain character interactions. Some of the character development throughout leaves the impression of premature companionship between characters, and trust was built a little too quickly with not enough time spent together. This fault presents itself in terms of nurse Lucy Clark, as she has only an occasional scene with Jones, yet in the end somehow receives all of the belongings of the man that he once was. It’s not a matter of poorly conceived characters, but more a matter of too little time to properly play with them within the 90 minute runtime.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
I was surprised from the moment the title sequence began at just how terrific the film’s dramatic score was. Bobby Villarreal did a phenomenal job creating a score that created drama and tension when the scenes were merely just building up the two. Villarreal may not be known as a composer as his work is namely in the music department of several near blockbusters, but this is a great beginning for the composer. Unfortunately however, the sound design was not as successful, and came off as entirely lackluster. A character may be in the same scene as another but their dialogue is spoken clear, while the other may be distant and hard to hear. Little sound editing mishaps like this happen throughout the entire film and while it is an ultimately forgivable error, it is hard to ignore each time it happens on screen.
The use of real locations gives the film a fantastic independent feel, and it’s certainly an accomplishment of the directors that they utilized location so effectively. With a low budget, the occasional (supposed) set designs seemed finely crafted, which is particularly true in regards to the scenes that took place within the halls of the hospital. All in all, everything from the particular way a scene was filmed down a corridor or shot outside an estate was incredibly well made. There’s hardly anything to argue with when it comes to the effects, locations, or possible set design.
George Loomis and Elias Talbot’s directorial debut, Caretakers, is an excellent beginning for any promising filmmaker; with a unique story to tell, a few tweaks to several areas throughout the film could succeed in making this a film to seek out for any indie lover. Above all else it leaves a lasting impression that these filmmakers have a future to look out for and I’m personally excited to see what they come up with next.