Caviar Image


By Bobby LePire | May 5, 2023

Writer-director Jacob Michael King’s cinematic debut, Caviar, is a conspiracy-tinged thriller. Antigone (Betsey Brown) is mourning her brother’s death, well-known political pundit Jeremiah (Al Warren). This tragedy happens as their father, Eddie (James Healy Jr.), is slipping further into the stages of dementia. To honor her brother, Antigone has decided to keep his YouTube show going as best she can.

However, Antigone receives a video from her alive-brother. In it, Jeremiah claims to have uncovered a vast conspiracy that has grave implications for his sister and the whole world. This sends Antigone on a quest to discover the truth for herself. At every turn, she is wary of who to trust. Is Jeremiah’s good friend Tim (Jacob Michael King) in on this? Does the seemingly well-meaning Mark (Aaron Pruner) actually want to help Antigone, or does he just want to keep an eye on her for his own means? No matter what, Antigone’s life will never be the same.

Caviar is quite the wild ride. It opens up with a disclaimer about how nothing seen is real and all the public figures were deepfaked. Said deepfakes range in quality a bit. Some are very good, moving fairly naturally, while others, especially with more than one deepfake character on screen, enter the uncanny valley. Plus, the voices of several of these political figures, such as AOC, don’t quite sound authentic. Still, the sheer ambition to make a film with so many deepfakes, chasing down conspiracies, and creating an engaging story utilizing both must be applauded. While not everything totally fits together story-wise, King has a vision and sticks to it.

“…uncovered a vast conspiracy that has grave implications…”

Luckily, the filmmaker has a perfect cast to aid him. Brown is impeccable as the grieving, confused, but resolute lead. She grounds every twist and turn, no matter how out of left field they seem to come. Warren is engaging, and buying him as a social media star is easy. Healy Jr. wonderfully underplays what his character is going through, making Eddie even more sincere and sweet. King is fun, while Pruner effectively plays a creep.

Beyond that, the plot is also fascinating. While I don’t prescribe to anything outlandish, the structure of the film allows all watching to buy into what’s happening. When owls and UFOs enter the picture, it actually makes a sort of internal logic. King ensures his narrative is also consistent, even at the surprising conclusion.

Caviar is an audacious first feature. But King’s confident direction and bold storytelling give way to a thrilling experience. While the deepfake technology ranges from good to not, the cast more than makes up for it.

For more information, visit the official Caviar website.

Caviar (2023)

Directed and Written: Jacob Michael King

Starring: Betsey Brown, Al Warren, James Healy Jr., Jacob Michael King, Aaron Pruner, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Caviar Image

"…when owls and UFOs enter the picture, it actually makes a sort of internal logic."

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