Writer/director Nick Rizzini’s thriller Framed, I bet, is one of those movies born from a dinner discussion with friends. Our protagonist is a young artist, Karl (Thomas Law), who quit his secure corporate job to become an aspiring photographer. One afternoon, while not looking for work, he spots his neighbor in her apartment window across from him. She is in her bra and panties and dressing for the day. So what does an aspiring artist do? Well, Karl takes pictures; a lot of them.
Serving as Karl’s moral soundboard is Virginia (Lottie Amor), his best friend. Karl confesses what he’s done, and the two get into a heated conversation about rights of privacy, art vs. voyeurism, and whether being hot and attractive is how women want to be labeled.
The next day, Karl gazes at his neighbor’s window as she is fresh out of the shower in nothing more than her birthday suit. His camera is firing away, and Karl gets caught. Visibly freaked, Karl tries to talk Virginia into the idea that what he is doing is for an upcoming art exhibition. His theme is privacy, but nonetheless, it’s still art. Virginia is not exactly buying.
“[Karl] spots his neighbor in her apartment window across from him. She is in her bra and panties…”
As the story moves further, the neighbor starts “posing” for Karl — maybe implying consent. She sends him notes requesting to see the pictures and another note asking him to be ready that evening for an exclusive photoshoot with a gentleman caller. It’s all fun and games until the police show up.
Before you think this is an erotic version of Rear Window, it’s not. As a thriller, it builds the suspense well as Karl’s obsession with his neighbor grows, but then the ending is not what I expected (as a thriller) and, to some degree, hoped for. Framed is more a morality play, and I mention all this simply to set expectations.
With said expectations correctly set, I liked the film. I thought that the discussions about privacy and art were argued well with no clear winners. It’s two people with opposing positions, wants, and passions making their case and challenging the viewpoint of the other. The screenplay is terrific as the dialogue feels like how people talk, and the story is engaging, even without its proper thriller ending.
As young actors, both Law and Amor have great chemistry together. Individually, their characters are performed wonderfully and have dimension, especially for a film where two people talk, more or less, the whole time. They feel like friends, and their evolution together works. Framed may not be the thriller you want, but it’s a fine drama and morality play.
"…the screenplay is terrific..."