I wholeheartedly BEG you to watch this...
I had no clue what I was in for when I agreed to cover Mass. I chose to opt out of the trailer before my screening and boy, do I thank my past self. This movie is a rollercoaster ride of emotion and I think everyone should watch it when they can.
There is a certain amount of knowledge or understanding of modern American culture needed in order to make such a specific film. Hats off to writer/director Fran Kanz for getting all the very important points and arcs across respectfully and graciously.
I love that the majority of the film takes place in one room. We are able to focus on the performances and feel like you're in the room with them. It’s no surprise as to how much this feels like a play, as Kanz has a broadway background.
I can’t give a true synopsis without giving away some of the best parts of my viewing experience, so with that, I will keep this short. Two sets of parents meet at a church to discuss a deeply harrowing event that has affected them forever. With careful examination of each other’s choices, they attempt to understand one another to bring closure.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
I really don't know how I can describe this cast other than perfect. From the smaller roles like the church employees to the leads, everyone is so important and flawless in creating a distinct tone. This is hands down some of Martha Plimpton's best work. She is so severely underrated and I'm glad she was given this spotlight. Also, Ann Dowd can do literally anything and this film is just another example. Reed Birney and Jason Issacs are incredible husband counterparts, while they grab the screen for some great moments of their own.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The film mostly takes place in one room, yet the camera does a great job at shifting around as if you're the one circling the table, being somewhat of a referee. I forgot sometimes that we had been in the same room the whole time. I loved the set design as it felt extremely close to every bible study room from when I was a kid.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The lack of score in the film helps create that raw feeling that encapsulates you. There is some interesting sound layering. I thoroughly enjoyed the use of diegetic tid-bits in the church to really bring everything together by the end.
If you love films that are heavy performance based, I wholeheartedly BEG you to watch this. It's not full of cheap drama frills and it requires a lot of focus and putting together context clues. It is, without a doubt, going in my top ten of the year.
Bleecker Street will release MASS in theaters on October 8th, 2021