Peace and quiet only work if you can quiet your inner demons. Peter Allen learns this the hard way in the latest suspense-thriller Point Defiance. Point Defiance is a suspenseful slow burn with tension, twists, and turns everywhere you look. Strong character development and storyline make this a must-see for any thriller junkie.
Point Defiance follows stockbroker Peter Allen (Derek Phillips). While on house arrest for an undisclosed reason Peter’s brother Alex (Josh Crotty) returns to the US for leave from military duty in Afghanistan. This reunion forces them to face a forgotten past and dig up a dark secret that could be the key to several other misfortunes. The characters in this film are so complex. Dichotomy shrouded in mystery is the order of the day for the storyline and the characters that bring it to life. Special recognition should be given to Phillips and Crotty for their outstanding performances. Almost the entire film revolves around Peter and Alex, but their characters are so well written and portrayed so flawlessly that you are drawn in, nearly oblivious to the fact that the film is virtually two people in a house.
Crotty’s performance as a soldier on leave was especially noteworthy. He captures the spirit and mentality of a soldier and the internal struggles than many of them battle each day. If you watch the film, pay special attention to Crotty’s monologue. He delivers it while Alex is in Afghanistan and the raw emotion, complexity, and sadness is palpable. Hats off to writers Timothy and Justin Foia for using military consultants, it shows.
Alex’s complex character is only part of a very twisted story. Phillips beautifully brings Peter’s character to life. A life that shows that no one is all good or all bad. Given the right (or wrong) combination of events, we can become our best selves, or we can become what we fear the most. This depth is present in all the characters and is one of the elements that make this film noteworthy.
Along with delightful acting, the film is packed with stunning cinematography. The pacific northwest backdrop alone is gorgeous. Along with striking scenery are great slow panning and zoom shots. So much of the film occurs within these slow shots, which enhances the “slow burn” of the film and adds to its delightfully stressful tension build. Point Defiance is a sleepy town with dark secrets, and this is only made more apparent by the film style.
The storyline is strong, unexpected, and gritty. Good character development may be this story’s foundation, but the symbolism and unexpected twists are what make this tale worth telling. I am a sucker for a good analogy and let me tell you, analogies there are plenty. Seemingly unimportant moments that become paramount in Point Defiance’s climax.
There are several unexpected twists in the film, but the crowning moment is the end of the film. Even with a twist ending, there are several allusions to how the film will end. Once the end is revealed, what once was a few unimportant scenes connect to tie the ending together beautifully. They set up an explanation for the ending without giving it away. I won’t give anything away, but I will give you two hints… emails and an alarm clock.
This twist ending is “cut short” which I think is to the film’s benefit. You as the viewer get to decide how the story ends even though there is a strong implication as to how the story concludes. You decide if the characters can rise above their inner demons, or if the “sins of the father” lead to you meeting the “fate of your father”. Point Defiance is a great example of an original story coupled with remarkable writing. It is a thrill ride from start to finish that will keep you (and leave you) guessing.
Point Defiance comes to VOD, Digital, and DVD May 19. We are all at home and looking for something to do. If you like suspense thrillers that have heart, mystery, and suspense… then put this on your to-do list…you’ll thank me.
Movie Rating: 8 out of 10