The Actor Image

The Actor

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | April 18, 2024

The Actor is exactly the kind of alternative indie film for those looking for values outside the Hollywood norm. Blake goes out of his way to buck the system here, starting with the fantastic audition sequence. This simple scene makes Blakes an outsider to the institutionalized vulgarity of Los Angeles. This is an effective hook to frame his character as the underdog and get the audience on his side. This is reinforced by more focus on the plastic underbelly of the entertainment industry, cumulating in this excellent scene where he talks a waitress from Texas from showing up to a so-called business meeting that will turn into a rape.

All of this sets up the state of Texas as an integrity Shangri-La to flee to, a land filled with hugs and churches. There is a lot of focus on Texas values and culture to stand in contrast to what Blake is running from. The script then follows a trajectory that the further Blake’s character strays from his moral compass, the heavier the trouble becomes for those around him. This makes things very scary when lots of innocent churchgoers are put in danger by the reckless actions of the lead. It also makes for a very entertaining movie. I got glued and stayed glued. Even if some scenes could have been made more concise, Blake’s instincts as a storyteller are dead solid perfect.

“…a bright red cherry of vigilantism that takes the cathartic cake.”

Blake tops The Actor with a bright red cherry of vigilantism that takes the cathartic cake. Not everyone remembers during the 70s when there was one incredible vigilante movie after another. Cinematic vigilante justice usually sprang as a reactionary reaction to a more progressive legal system, an attitude that ran like wildfire at the time. By bringing a Texas-based value system into the mix, Blake resurrects the great vigilante tradition, which works onscreen in the audience’s secret fantasy realm. Would you want to try it in real life? Probably not, but you sure can watch it all night long. Another big treat is a throwback soundtrack comprised of the work of Collective Soul, including many of their big hits. It has been years since I saw Collective Soul play a free show for the city of Toledo in 1995. By gum, it sounded really good to hear them again. Their 90s rock sound is as comforting as a mac ‘n cheese jacuzzi, all warm, gooey, and familiar.

Thanks to cinematographer Nathan Price, the picture also has a great sheen to it, a very high-quality presentation. There are references to Stallone in the movie, and Blake wisely studied Stallone’s screenwriting craft for his own vehicles. Blake knows how to perform and how to write good material for himself. The Actor shows how much fun there is in the indie sphere for regional values mayhem to be had.

The Actor (2024)

Directed and Written: Richard Blake

Starring: Richard Blake, Major Dodge, Melissa Archer, Reid Kawakami, Jake Alexander Williams, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

The Actor  Image

"…exactly the kind of alternative indie film for those looking for values outside the Hollywood norm..."

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