By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****.
The Answer (2015), the debut feature from writer-director Iqbal Ahmed, is a successful genre crossbreed. Merging elements of romance, mystery, thriller and science-fiction, Ahmed weaves an engaging, if familiar, tale. The fiction concerns a man, Bridd Cole (in a solid performance from Austin Hebert), who sets out to unveil his identity after an unexpected attack. This is with the utilization of a series of cryptic clues left behind by his deceased parents.
Iqbal’s picture opens with an assuredly attention-garnering bit. It is as well-made as it is unnerving. From herein, this quick-paced and efficient, eighty-two-minute film is further strengthened by the chemistry laden relationship between Cole and his co-worker turned girlfriend, Charlotte Parker (in a knockout portrayal from Alexis Carra). But, the most notable component is the way Ahmed keeps this human focus at the center. This is while introducing a variety of alternately enigmatic and cerebral notions into the plot. Such makes this beautifully shot production consistently gripping.
Regardless, much of the second act, which intimately develops the ever-budding rapport between our protagonists, ultimately offers nothing new in terms of character development. Still, the satisfying and grounded finale, as well as the general can-do attitude of the affair, more than makes up for this slight storytelling hiccup. All-in-all, this is a strong work of independent cinema. Erick DeVore’s spellbinding music, as well as the sparsely used special effects of the effort, back this statement magnificently. Though the sum of the labor never exceeds its many intriguing parts, audiences of all interests will assuredly be hypnotized by the cinematic web Ahmed weaves.
(Unrated). Contains violence and some terrifying moments.
A High Octane Pictures release.
Premieres on Video on Demand on July 11th, 2017.