TIFF 2013: Proxy Review




Director: Zack Parker

Opening with a brick-induced miscarriage that sets the tone for what’s to follow, Proxy is if nothing else a dark and ballsy little thriller. Co-writer/director Zack Parker certainly has a knack for the misdirection, manipulation, and blasts of violence that define the genre and when the film works, comparisons to names like De Palma are not unreasonable. Unfortunately his film is just a little too confused and muddled to be labeled a complete success. For every strong performance, there’s a cringe worthy actor in a small role. For every brilliant set piece, there’s a clumsily handled bit of exposition. It could be the result of limited resources or a rushed production, but this is simply too inconsistent to be dubbed a major effort in the genre.

Fortunately, what works is far too strong to dismiss the film. The script by Kevin Donner and Zack Parker is pretty damn impressive, filled with brilliant twists, dramatic gearshifts, and clever misdirection. A key couple at the center of the film are wonderfully played by Joe Sawnberg and Alexa Havins and whenever they are on screen it feels like the movie that Parker set out to make. Miscasting and a few shoddily constructed sequences really harm the film overall. Yet, there are still enough tense, darkly humorous, and genuinely tragic scenes in Proxy to suggest that Parker has the potential to crank out a hell of a film once he gets all the right pieces in place. This one qualifies as a near miss, but at least one good enough to still be worth a look. (Phil Brown)

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