By Kevin Carr | January 6, 2004

“The Grail” takes a series of interlocking stories and juggles them. Each one is hinged on the other with a crossover character or event. As the film progresses, we learn more about a loose end from an earlier story in the current one.
We begin with a group of friends enjoying a night of drugs in memory of their dealer who was gunned down that afternoon. Then we shift to a rookie cop trying to bust up the drug ring, then back up to another drug dealer who spends his free time tormenting a homeless addict with his stash. The addict holds up a convenience store and murders the clerk (who happens to be the dead dealer in story #1). Before he can kill the other customer in the store – a sexy au pair out for a jog – a local slacker named Fletcher chases him away. We wrap up with the au pair’s host mother who is an addict herself, buying off the local drug ring.
“The Grail” suffers from what many under-90-minute features do – too much padding. Although the concept surrounding the film is sound, and relatively well constructed, the individual scenes within the drug party and Fletcher’s apartment go on way too long.
Additionally, there are few characters that are likeable. The au pair (who is billed simply as “The Grail”) is cute but not a terribly strong character, rather an object of Fletcher’s desire. Fletcher himself is really a piggish twentysomething “girls like jerks” jerk when he makes small talk with his roommate (a charming young man named Rat) about such intellectual issues as bathroom habits and masturbation.
While the cinematography at times is compelling and edgy, other times its relatively dull and amateurish. In fact, there are portions of the film where the lighting is alarmingly bad, with color blow-out or wash-out that varies from take to take.
The multi-story format is tough to tackle these days after Quentin Tarantino perfected the style in the 1990s. But director Volkan does a decent job weaving the plots together. His biggest problem, however, is that not all plots are equally compelling. The drug dealer and homeless addict is an interesting, gritty side-story, but it is quickly swept away with the story of the Grail herself.

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