Tag Archives: Kaitlyn Dever

FILMS THAT GOT AWAY #15: SHORT TERM 12 (2013)

FILMS THAT GOT AWAY #15: SHORT TERM 12 (2013)

Written and Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton

Produced by: Maren Olson, Asher Goldstein, Joshua Astrachan, Ron Najor

Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher, Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Lakeith Stanfield, Kevin Hernandez, Melora Walters, Stephanie Beatriz, etc.

Cinematography: Brett Pawlak



Bloody Marvel!

I refer to both this film, Short Term 12 (2013), and the Disney-owned behemoth studio which, while releasing some incredible film works over the years, currently pumps out generic product of variant quality. I say “Bloody Marvel” because the studio continue to poach some amazingly talented filmmakers with indie roots to front their entertaining cookie-cutter templates. I, of course, include Short Term 12 (2013), writer-director, Destin Daniel Cretton who, having adapted his own short film for a reported $400,000, has subsequently been directing stupidly expensive super-hero films for the studio giant.

Short Term 12 (2013) is one of those films I missed seeing on release. I then, for some unknown series of reasons, did not see it on video until earlier this month. It is a brilliant drama, full of fascinating characters, amazing dialogue, poignant moments of humanity and some really funny scenes also. Moreover, it has almost the perfect low-budget film screenplay, so it is no surprise to find out Destin Daniel Cretton’s script won a Nicholls Fellowship Screenwriting Award. The casting director also deserves a mention too. I am not sure what kind of crystal ball they had because the ensemble is a who’s-who of “before they were famous” castings including: Brie Larson, Lakeith Stanfield, Rami Malek, John Gallagher, Kaitlyn Dever and Stephanie Beatriz.

Set in a group care home, Short Term 12 (2013), centres around the staff and teenage children and their daily ups and downs. At the heart of the story is Grace (Brie Larson) and her work/romance partner, Mason (John Gallagher). As well as working to resolve the often harrowing issues of teenagers such as Marcus (Lakeith Stanfield) and Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), Grace strives to overcome the post-traumatic scars her childhood has caused her. Aside from a slight tragedy overload in the final act, Short Term 12 (2013), is one of the best films I have seen in a long time. The emotional gravity I felt for many of these characters was so powerful. It is very rare that a film can make me laugh and cry in equal measures. And it was all shot, acted and directed in just twenty days. Destin Daniel Cretton’s sophomore feature film is a true indie marvel!

Mark: 10 out of 11


NETFLIX ORIGINAL DRAMA REVIEWS: UNBELIEVABLE (2019) & WHEN THEY SEE US (2019)

NETFLIX ORIGINAL DRAMA REVIEWS

Netflix produce a lot of original content, with the quality of the films sometimes a bit questionable. However, their limited series are usually really good. This is especially proved by two recent drama releases, both based on true events and questionable law enforcement procedures. In terms of production values, drama and power, they are of the highest quality. So, here are my reviews of Unbelievable (2019) and When They See Us (2019).

**MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**



UNBELIEVABLE (2019)

Created & written by: Susannah Grant, Ayelet Waldman, Michael Chabon etc.

Directors: Lisa Cholodenko, Michael Dinner, Susannah Grant etc.

Main Cast: Toni Collette, Merritt Weaver, Kaitlyn Dever, Eric Lange, Elizabeth Marvel, Danielle Macdonald, Dale Dickey etc.



Based on a Pulitzer prize winning news article, “An Unbelievable Story of Rape”, this superb police procedural drama charts events which occurred in Washington and Colorado between 2008 and 2011. A brutal rapist is attacking women in their homes and leaving absolutely no trace of evidence. Police in Washington are so stumped they are not even sure one of their victims, Marie Adler (Kaitlyn Dever), is telling the truth.

The series is carefully structured between Marie’s ordeals in 2008 and the subsequent 2011 police investigation led by Detective Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette) and Detective Karen Duvall (Merritt Weaver). Marie is so appallingly treated by the Washington police that you cannot help but sympathise with her. Her character is one of neglect and tragedy.

The Colorado investigation occurring in 2011 is the total opposite of the Washington one. Rasmussen and Duvall may be different in personality, yet they are both determined and fierce in their pursuit of this heinous perpetrator. Collette and Weaver make a formidable team on screen and there is much sensitivity toward the victims of these crimes within an excellent script.

Ultimately, this is a thoughtful, suspenseful and, at times, heartfelt drama. It both highlights the shocking nature of sexual crimes against women and the very different ways different police departments handle such situations. I myself was continually moved emotionally by the events and feel there is no place in this world for people who commit such wicked crimes.

Mark: 9 out of 11



WHEN THEY SEE US (2019)

Directed by: Ava Duvernay

Written by: Ava Duvernay, Julian Breece, Robin Swicord, Attica Locke, Michael Starrbury

Cast: Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, Ethan Herisse, Jharrel Jerome, Marquis Rodriguez, Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, Justin Cunningham, Freddy Miyares, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Michael K. Williams



If Unbelievable (2019) illustrates both the positive and negative results of police investigations, When They See Us (2019), paints an even more incredulous series of events with regard to the law. The drama series concerns a vicious sexual attack in 1989 on Trisha Meili, a jogger in Central Park. The police acted swiftly to arrest the alleged perpetrators. Satisfied that the five black male suspects they had in custody committed the crimes, the police, urged on by New York prosecutor, Linda Fairstein use unscrupulous tactics to gain their “confessions.”

The way these characters — Kevin Richardson, Anton McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise and Raymond Santana — are treated by the New York Police Department is only the beginning of the cruel injustice they face. From the initial crime, to the arrests, to the court case and subsequent aftermath, the drama puts you at the heart of one of the biggest travesties ever committed. The series expertly shows how the legal system fails these individuals, their families and the victim too.

Beautifully written, acted and directed, this is an incredible work of television. It combines both a fascinating style and a brutal vision of the struggle of these characters experience. The performances from the younger and older actors is excellent, although special mention must go to Jharrel Jerome as Korey Wise. In ‘Part Four’, which shows his incarceration, Jerome’s portrayal oozes tragedy and solitary pathos. Indeed, the acting is so good Jerome would deservedly win an Emmy award.

Ava DuVernay, having taken a break from hard-hitting drama by directing fantasy film A Wrinkle in Time (2018), has produced another powerful and socially relevant work. These events may have occurred in 1989, but their impact echoes across the decades. The treatment by the New York Police of these black youths is also a microcosm of how minorities are treated in general by the U.S. justice system. By highlighting the tragedy of this case, DuVernay and her production team have created a landmark work of TV drama. One which is both incredibly vital and emotionally unforgettable. Be warned: there will be tears.

Mark: 10 out of 11