Firstly, I’d just like to start off by saying thank you to Writer/Director, Michael Matteo Rossi (Sable) for allowing me early access to an online screener of his latest Crime/Drama film “Chase”. Chase follows a hitman (played by Damien Puckler of TV’s Grimm) who must ultimately choose between his line of work with mentor and friend Miles (Aries Spears), or his girlfriend (Jessica Morris) and her wishes for him to leave the business behind and join her and her young son. The film also stars Devanny Pinn (Party Bus To Hell), Richard Riehle (Fear Inc.), Harry Hains, and Paul Duke.
Rossi’s previous venture came in the form of Sable *see review* https://adamthemoviegod.com/sable-review-2/ a film ultimately about choices and relationships. Once again, Rossi delves into the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles in Chase and explores the repercussions that come with wanting out of the life. Each of Michael’s independently made films has boasted solid production values and Chase is no different. The neo-noir inspired color palette looks quite sharp, particularly the pinks, which really pop. There’s a cautionary tale element in here and it comes via narration from Chase, and in turn, lead actor Puckler. DP, Jason Weary (Sable) reteams with Rossi and offers up a lot of really great two-shots over the course of the film. The audio track is nicely elevated in the mix and Salil Bhayani generates a “Drive” inspired synth pumping track to open proceedings – though it’s a bit of a shame the introduction itself isn’t anywhere near as memorable as Refn’s driving sequence. The performances are generally serviceable, with the dynamics between Damien and Jessica the standout characteristic. Puckler spends a majority of the runtime as the strong but silent type and happens to bear a striking resemblance to fellow actors Jamie Dornan and Eric Bana. Though he certainly flaunts a much more enhanced physique than that pairing. Morris undoubtedly brings the emotional component to the table and I enjoyed watching bit players in Pinn and Riehle do their thing as well. Chase doesn’t have a lot in the way of action but James Poirer’s brief fight choreography does work well.
From a technical point of view, not everything in Chase works exactly as it should. I noticed a couple of small focus issues, though to be fair, they may have been intentional stylistic choices. Either way, they weren’t a great look. The same could be said of some of the Steadicam use on display too. I’d love to have seen a little more in the way of practical blood spray in the aftermath of the shootings, rather than the reliance on CG spurts. If I’m being critical, I’d argue that sections of the dialogue in Chase are either weak or unnecessarily crass. The film has more profanity than what feels natural for the material. I was disappointed with the lack of on-screen violence as well, given that from the outside this looked as though it might be a little more high octane than it ultimately ended up being. At times it seems almost bereft of atmosphere, made all the more obvious by Chase’s necessity to narrate all his thoughts and fears, spelling out for the viewer any of the potential nuances that may have been offered up. Chase is constantly trying to show us the ropes, but in actual fact ends up divulging very little of any worth. The most interesting part of the film can be found in the interactions between Chase and Miles but the film is crying out for some much-needed clarity and substance on the machinations of that supposed lifelong “friendship”. We gain some useful information at the height of the climax but there’s very little to go on prior to that. Rossi opts for a montage of seemingly irrelevant “marks” being dealt with rather than hinting at the truth behind the darkest of Chase’s depths.
Chase is a solid little indie Crime/Drama from an up and coming young filmmaker in Michael Matteo Rossi. Once again, the production value is really high in regard to both the cinematography and lighting, which are quite well crafted. The audio track is clean and the synth portion of the score helps to surge the mood. Performances are pretty consistent across the board and the climax proves to be fairly entertaining. On a sour note, some of the attention to detail is lacking and chunks of the dialogue aren’t great either. There’s an inordinate amount of narration declared by our protagonist that seemingly endeavors to cover for the lack of on-screen action – it’s a little on the heavy-handed though. Further world building certainly wouldn’t have gone astray, namely surrounding the relationship between Chase and Miles. As it stands, Chase is worth a one watch but I don’t know how much value there is to be had in multiple viewings. Go ahead and check out the trailer below and keep an eye out for the film coming soon!
My rating for “Chase” is 5.5/10