Skip to main content

Mammoth Film Festival 2022: THE ABANDON Review


Director: Jason Satterlund

Starring: Jonathan Rosenthal and Tamara Perry

A bottle episode is a device most commonly associated with television that limits locations to only one room or set. Famously, episodes of SEINFELD, BREAKING BAD, and THE SOPRANOS have used a limited scope to create some of their most memorable episodes. Films as diverse as 12 ANGRY MEN, MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, and ROPE have all played in this claustrophobic sandbox. Going on three years of pandemic-induced isolation, it makes sense that filmmakers are gravitating towards limited scope in their narratives. Not only is it a way to help ensure safety on a set it's a logical way to reflect the loneliness and dread we are all experiencing.        

Miles Willis, a wounded Army soldier, is having a bad day. Not only has he been shot but he finds himself trapped in a gray tiled room that defies his basic understanding of physics. Gravity appears to be subjective if not manipulated, the temperature quickly shifts to extremes, and writing appears on the walls from an unseen presence. 

All films are dependent on their casting but a few conceits like a bottle episode will test an actor's ability. In THE ABANDON Jonathan Rosenthal is the sole person we see on screen for the majority of the 90-minute runtime. The film is completely told from his point of view, a man with a bullet in his stomach trying to make sense of the senseless situation he finds himself in. If you put the wrong actor in this role there is no way to cut around or hide it. In many ways this film could work as a black box play, it is that much of a performance-driven piece. A drama/horror/sci-fi/thriller black-box piece but one that is absolutely rooted in performance and Rosenthal is up for the task of selling this character. 

While the film is not pushing the audience to distrust Miles, it's hard not to question how much of what we are witnessing is real, after all, it would be completely understandable if our protagonist was a bit off in his perception of reality. And that's something most of us have experienced over the last three years, a shift in reality pushed by disembodied forces, a desperate need to connect, and the feeling that maybe it is time to abandon hope. The sense that we need to let go to move on is becoming more pervasive and the fear of what lies on the other side is becoming calloused. We can't remain on high alert in perpetuity, eventually, we run out of fucks to give. 

While not directly a film about the pandemic, THE ABANDON is certainly playing with our current psyche and makes what could have been a disposable thriller into something worthy of examination.


Popular posts from this blog

THE FIRE THAT TOOK HER Trailer and Release Info

  The Fire That Took Her: Mother-of-two, Judy Malinowski, was doused in gasoline and set on fire by her crazed ex-boyfriend. She would go on to set new legal precedent, becoming the first woman to testify at the trial for her own muder. THE FIRE THAT TOOK HER goes inside her landmark case to ask a timely question: How much must women suffer in order to be believed? Opening In Theaters October 21st, 2022

Following Films Podcast: Matt Glass and Jordan Wayne Long on GHOSTS OF THE OZARKS

Today I'm joined by Matt Glass and Jordan Wayne Long the co-directors behind GHOSTS OF THE OZARKS Tim Blake Nelson, David Arquette, Angela Bettis, Thomas Hobson, Phil Morris and Tara Perry star in this exciting new take on the southern ghost story. In post-Civil War Arkansas, a young doctor is mysteriously summoned to a remote town in the Ozarks only to discover that the utopian paradise is filled with secrets and surrounded by a menacing, supernatural presence GHOSTS OF THE OZARKS is available wherever you rent movies

Lifetime®’s Ultimate Holiday Movie Collection arrives on DVD November 1 from Lionsgate

Ok, you either are or you know someone who is crazy about these things. The Lifetime holiday movies are so popular and omnipresent that I think they can qualify as their own sub-genre. I know exactly who I will be purchasing this massive set for. Check out the details below  Experience the best this holiday season has to offer as Lifetime®’s Ultimate Holiday Movie Collection arrives on DVD November 1 from Lionsgate, exclusively at Walmart. Featuring 50 holiday-themed stories of love, family, friendship, and Christmas magic, Lifetime®’s Ultimate Holiday Movie Collection will be available for the suggested retail price of $69.98 for DVD. FILM HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE A Fiancรฉ for Christmas Holiday in Santa Fe Miracle in Motor City Mistletoe in Montana Under the Christmas Tree Merry Liddle Christmas Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding Merry Liddle Christmas Baby Feliz NaviDAD You Light Up My Christmas Christmas Hotel Radio Christmas …and many more!   PROGRAM INFORMATION Year of Production: 2017–2021