The Strange Ones Image

The Strange Ones

By Bobby LePire | February 26, 2018

Of course, the best-written part in the world wouldn’t feel believable if the acting weren’t up to snuff. Alex Pettyfer, probably best known for starring in the first Magic Mike movie, is remarkable as Nick. That the audience always empathizes and roots for him is a testament to that fact, as Nick is capable of doing awful things. James Freedson-Jackson is equally compelling as the younger half of this unlikely duo. He plays the more insane moments straight-faced and earnest, which helps ground the film and prevents it from ever becoming over the top. Althaus is charming as Kelly, bringing her lively and helpful demeanor to full life. Detective Reynolds becomes a major player in the later half of the movie, and Melanie Nicholls-King is superb as the shrewd cop.

“…a purpose that was not evident until the finale.”

Radcliff and Wolkstein’s directing is simple, with even the more fantastical elements being presented as ordinary. That’s not to imply they employ a point and shoot tactic, as there are lots of long, unbroken taken when the environments envelop our protagonists.  This allows the directors to focus on the emotional core of each scene, and give it room to breathe in a way that is captivating and honest.

The Strange Ones is an elegant drama whose ending becomes poignant and elegiac. Brought to life by stellar acting and engrossing yet straightforward directing, the more the audience discovers, the more hypnotic everything becomes. It is a rewarding, spellbinding watch.

The Stranges Ones (2018) Directed by Christopher Radcliff, Lauren Wolkstein. Written by Christopher Radcliff, Lauren Wolkstein. Starring Alex Pettyfer, James Freedson-Jackson, Emily Althaus, Melanie Nicholls-King, Olivia Wang, Owen Campbell, Marin Ireland.
Grade A-

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  1. Paul F Scheckel says:

    I just watched the movie and thought the acting was top drawer ! However, it doesn’t develop the relatoionship between Sams dad and Nick. We are only given that they knew each other as neighbors, but nothing else. Was their friendship more involved than just being neighbors, or something more intimate? I ask, because he (the dad) lets Nick become a ‘baby sister’ to Sam, a trust that could only be based on a closer friendship.Also, the scene (flash back)where he unlocks Sam bedroom door and asks him to talk to him. Did he lock Sam in the room to prevent him from going over to Nicks? It appears that his daad suspects that there is something going on between Sam and Nick, so he is trying to restrict Sam in his contacts with Nick, therefore his (Sams )hatred of his dad is the result of these restrictions? It seems odd that a father would let an adult male be a babysitter to a teenage boy without knowing more about him–so, this goes back to how well he knew Nick to trust him for this responsibility? (Just watched it again and thorough it seemed to clear up some questions in my mind, it still is unclear (to me) what was bothering Sam, as he seemed to be in a kind of a trance, not fully aware of what’s going on! Some other questions: what about his mother? apparently, he lived with her as he mentions he was involved with Nick when he moved there 2 years before (his father’s house). Also, is Sam gay and maybe initiated the relationship with bi-sexual (it hints he is?) Nick? Much information is missing on the characters to come to a conclusion on who they are!)

  2. Arthur G. says:

    The acting by Alex Pettyfer was mysterious and nerve-wracking. Trying to figure out the ambiguity of these two was mind-boggling. James Freedson-Jackson makes evil manipulation look easy. Great acting from both actors and an absolute mind-bending journey.

  3. John says:

    This film is getting bad reviews, but only because it is challenging. It is a film that works, and is definitely worth seeing by anyone with patience to absorb a slow burn thriller.

    Part of its magic is its ambiguity. I’m not as sure as the reviewer that the film’s twists add up to a single, complete set of definite facts. I think part of the discomfort the film produces for many in the audience is the way it resists any definite interpretation. I’ve seen in many reviews simple factual mistakes that allow the reviewer to complete their interpretation. But the film is more challenging than that. I think it tells a story, but exactly which parts are true are not so firmly established. And yet the feeling, at the end, is less unambiguous: a hard-won, almost impossible-seeming sympathy.

    I think this is an excellent film, with a few blemishes, like a couple brown spots on a very tasty apple. It does not deserve the rough reviews it is getting at all.

    And the performance by James Freedson-Jackson is career making. People in the industry are not going to overlook this one.

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