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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Chariot
Chariot
Other // Unrated // November 13, 2013
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Kyle Mills | posted January 26, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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Content:
Nowadays there is an oversaturation in the market with poorly made low budget thriller films and due to that fact, I always go into B and C films skeptically, but I'm sure those reading this review have had at least one movie going experience with a B movie where they go to the see the film with little expectation ending up extremely satisfied with how much of an enjoyable film it was. Personally, Chariot, a film based off the true story of a Boeing 727 located in an Angolan hangar that vanished off the face of the Earth without a trace, was one of those movies. Written by Eric Vale, who is probably best known for his performance as Future Trunks on the U.S. English dub of Dragon Ball Z, and directed by Brad Osborne, probably best known for his work on the excellent I Am Alive: Surviving the Andes Plane Crash, Chariot follows seven strangers as they wake up on a plane mid flight with a locked cockpit, no way to contact the outside world and no memory of how or what they're doing in the plane.

The film opens a man named Cole (played by Anthony Montgomery, Star Trek), waking up and stumbling his way to the bathroom. After regaining his composure he realizes he's in a plane, a Boeing 727 to be exact, but has no memory of why or how he got there. Soon, various other passengers come to, Aden (Ian Sinclair), Michael(Joe Nemmmers), Emily (Brina Palencia), Belinda (Leslie Hippensteel), Genevieve (Michelle Sherrill) and Ra (David DeLao), all of whom also have no memory or know what they're doing in the aircraft.

The group collect and introduce themselves, hoping that their backgrounds will shed light on why exactly they're in the situation, unfortunately they hit a dead end when all of them seem to be of diverse backgrounds. Cole is a trucker from Texas, Aden is a hacker for the group "Anonymous", Ra is a linguist, Belinda is a normal housewife, Emily is an anthropology major at Duke, Michael is the Secretary of Transportation, and Genevieve is a contractor for the government. While discussing what they last remember, Aden finds a cell phone, though the only thing accessible being a live Houston news feed that tells the group that America is under attack, subsequently seeing Houston's destruction.

They soon receive a call from a man named Major Collins (Larry Jack Dotson) at NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) who explains to the group that they're evacuees, apart of an classified evacuation plan to save those deemed too valuable to lose in case of an attack. Cole angrily exclaims that they have the likes of a trucker, a student and a housewife on the plane, claiming it's impossible that's the situation. Collins tells them that they're all on the list and it's up to the group to find out exactly why. The group asks for him to find them somewhere to land, but Collins tells them that their original destination was destroyed and it's impossible due to the scale of the attacks. The group must figure out why they're up there and to figure out a way to land the plane safely, despite the pilot being behind lock doors, having strict orders to not deviate from their current destination, and to kill anyone who attempts to breach.

Personally I feel where most B and C movies struggle is its lack of a good cast, a terrible lead can bring down an entire film (On Her Majesty's Secret Service comes to mind) and vice versa where a great actor can elevate a subpar story (Taken), that's where I feel Chariot truly shines. Every single actor in this film furthers the story in a positive way, and honestly there are no weak links among the group. Anthony Montgomery, who is best known for his work in the Star Trek franchise plays Cole, the character the audience is supposed to identify with. Montgomery brings a raw and gritty performance to the role. There were numerous standouts, Brina Palencia plays Emily, where she gets to show off her acting chops in the most emotive role of the film. Ian Sinclair plays the jackass of the group and plays it perfectly. And possibly my favorite performance is from a relative unknown, Joe Nemmers, who brings the much needed human element to the film.

Positives:

+ Well acted all around.

+ The big twist makes the film worth watching on its own.

+ Intense and atmospheric thriller that is reminiscent to episodes of Twilight Zone.

+ The production values are excellent and quite astonishing considering the budget was less than $50,000.

Negatives:

- Polarizing ending. I personally liked how the film ended, I felt it was fitting end to the story, but it may turn some off.

- Occasionally there is some cringe worthy dialogue.

- Has the occasional cliché, there is a twist at the midway point of the film that I had seen coming since the beginning, but was kind of hoping wouldn't come.

Video and Audio:
The film is presented in a 1.78:1 ratio with a 1080p resolution in an anamorphic widescreen. The film doesn't really use much of a color palette but what they do utilize is vivid and varied, while the blacks are bold, strong, help carry the film with its atmosphere.

The audio is presented with an Dolby Digital Stereo audio mix that is quite good. The dialogue is crisp and clean throughout and there were no signs of any type of distortions or dropouts on playback.

Extras: - Audio Commentary on the film with Brad Osborne and Eric Vale, the director and writer of the film.

- Chariot: Making a Dream Fly - a 13 minute behind the scenes featurette with the cast and crew focusing on how the story of Chariot came to be.

- Thank you calls - Eric Vale, Ian Sinclair, Brina Palencia and various others calling the Indiegogo funders.

- Photo Gallery.

- Trailer for the film.

- Trailers for other films from the studio.

Overall:
Chariot is an exceptional film for what it is, it had a budget of less than $50,000 (I read it was around $42,000) which is quite astonishing looking at the finished product and they only had 12 days to shoot the film. Chariot ends up being a smart thriller film that is enjoyable from start to finish. The film sports solid performances from top to bottom with a story that is tightly written by Vale, provided with a great atmosphere from Osborne. The only real negatives I really have to say about the film I that it did occasionally revert back to the occasional cliché, some ham-fisted dialogue, and the ending may turn some people off, despite being appropriate for the story. Recommended

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