In Running Time, starring Bruce Campbell, the film is designed to appear as one continuous shot. The camera goes through cars, up and downstairs, into houses and apartments, and out the doors again. Filming, even in one long take, in a big empty place such as here, offers very little challenge-wise. As such, that is a movie whose one-shot for the entire runtime is an awe-inspiring feat. One that adds significantly to the sense of urgency and intensity of the story. By choosing an empty place, and populating it with the cast via carefully timed door openings, Tate has very little at his disposal to create atmosphere. In fact, it feels more like bad community theater than a movie most of the time.
Not helping the movie at all is the cast. Excluding Chloe Carabasi, who does not even enter until the last two or so minutes and Stallworth, the actors here are terrible. Mind you, their dialogue is full of lousy cliches and confusing double-crosses, but aside from the previously mentioned two, everyone else is annoying, unconvincing, overacting obnoxiously, or a combination thereof. The biggest offender is Nick Finch, as Hardinger. His macho posturing feels off-putting and false, never intimidating as intended. But that does mean the others are any good.
“Stallworth effortlessly charms as Sweetback, with…real moments of fun…”
Stallworth effortlessly charms as Sweetback, with his entrance providing one of the only real moments of fun to be found. To her credit, Carabasi, with 90% less screentime than anyone else, comes in and owns. She commands your attention and is just the right amount of snark and badass to be a lot of fun. She makes the ending of The Awful Kind the most enjoyable part, but that is not because the writing improved. It is solely because she’s just that good.
If someone were to describe the basic plot, characters, and style of The Awful Kind to me, it would sound like something I’d love. A one-take Western following a bunch of rough ‘n tumble outlaws trying to piece together where their plan went wrong? Um, yes, please! But Tate’s script offers little depth, the direction is basic and dull, and the acting, with two exceptions, is the worst ensemble of the year. Even though this is less than 30-minutes long, it is still a waste of your time.
"…all 23-minutes of the film is one long, continuous shot."