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Review: The Timber

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the timber

The Timber so wants to be something more, something important, something classic. The seeds are there, but it never reaches the heights it should or wants to.

Directed by Anthony O’Brien, the film stars James Ransone, Elisa Lasowski, Mark Caven, William Gaunt, David Bailie, and Josh Peck. If the name William Gaunt seems familiar, it is because it is the same guy who starred in The Champions TV show back in the 60s. He is a great actor, but like many things about the film, he is wasted in the role.

The basic plot follows two brothers, James Ransone and Josh Peck, who set out to capture or kill their estranged father, who has become violent after his fortunes crashed in the Yukon Gold Rush. You’d be hard pushed to know that until quite a bit into the film.

Turns out this is another adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, yet the way the film is put together this isn’t immediately evident. That is usually a good thing, you want surprises and a different take on the material, but I don’t feel that was an intentional choice.

Okay, it is pretty evident that I did not make much of this film, but like I said at the beginning the seeds are there. It desperately wants to be a Western version of Apocalypse Now, and with a lot of changes, it could have been a lot closer to that.

Instead we got a lot of scenes that seem unrelated. Each scene builds to something and then cuts away at the wrong time. We then move to another scene and we have no idea how it relates to what has gone before. At certain stages we don’t even know if it is the same time, or if we are watching a flashback or a hint of the future. I am not sure if this is a fault of the script, director or editor, but it just makes things needlessly confusing.

As it is another take on Hearts of Darkness if is understandable that there is not much action in the film. Yet when a shoot-out or fight does occur things lift for that time. The action is done well, there is plenty of blood when needed and the suspense rises. They almost seem made by different people or come from a different film as we soon have to slog through the quieter moments like the characters slog through the deep snow.

There is a voiceover that is meant to help deepen things, but at times it just comes across as pretentious and sometimes pointless. There are also moments when characters are speaking and it is difficult to hear or understand what they are saying. Whether the strong accents used, or a problem with the sound mix it is hard to say.

The sad thing is, everyone involved seems to be trying their best (Elisa Lasowski is particularly good) their hardest. Maybe that is what the problem is. They all wanted this to be a big important film, but it never comes together.

However, there are some good things about the film. The scenery is stunning and, at times, this is captured well by the camera, but on the whole the camera seems fixed and there is no life in the cinematography. Yet, at times there are small bits here and there were it all clicks and things come together, but these are brief and far between.

1.5-out-of-5

The Timber is available to buy now on DVD or Blu-ray.

The Timber Retail DVD#6.indd

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