Thursday, September 27, 2012

Well Fed: "Feedback" (2002)

Don't you just love when a shot in the dark DVD rental turns out to be a great surprise?

Lenny (Joe Tabbanella) is ready to make a drug deal at a nightclub. He has the dope, and is looking for his buyer. He gets a call from a friend of his, Mick (Jesse Harper), who gives him a phone number and a message. Lenny makes the call, says the message, and hangs up. He gets beat up in the men's room, and is out both drugs and money. Things do not get much better. Mick called Lenny, left a message while he lay bleeding on a sidewalk, and expired after hanging up. The problem is Mick was relaying a message to himself.

Mick was doing some work at a computer company. They invented a phone that can call six hours into the past. Mick was warning himself of his impending doom. Kubota (Jerry Giordano) was none to happy that Lenny lost his drugs, and threatens his life. Mick has an idea: do a little illegal gambling, and Mick will call Lenny in the past with a winning roulette number. Of course things get complicated as Lenny's girlfriend Sarah (Melissa Pursley) goes to Kubota for seed money, some characters begin dying, and the time phone is put to good use.

"Feedback" is a small film, and this works to its advantage. There are no obnoxious computer generated special effects drowning out the human characters. The only effects are bloody, and some great sound effects involving the time phone. What cowriter and director Konuralp must do is strengthen his characters and story, and he picks a winning cast to do it.

Tabbanella as Lenny is great. He is a flawed hero, since we don't like to cheer for drug dealers, but you immediately like him. He has great chemistry with Melissa Pursley as Sarah. She never turns into Linda Hamilton from the "Terminator" films, delivering a fragile performance of a fragile character. Jesse Harper could have played second banana to all the goings-on, but does a great job setting Mick apart. He is also another character hard to cheer for, but he rides the fence well. Jerry Giordano reminded me of a menacing Eric Roberts as Kubota. His few scenes are incredible. He does not play a generic villain, his scene in the back seat of the car beating Sarah is a standout.

Konuralp's direction is very fresh. I never became confused about what was going on, the basic story had a certain logic to it that worked. I kind of knew what would happen here and there, but that feeling was offset by a few genuine surprises along the way. Konuralp uses split screen and time captions to full affect, and there is more than enough suspense. The music was somewhat generic in all the scenes except the nightclub's. The science in this science fiction is iffy, but luckily the screenwriters do not dwell on it too much, so you won't have time to question it. Being a small film, the cast is small as are some of the action sequences. Great ending, though.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by "Feedback." Almost everything here worked very well, and I hope to see these actors and this director do more in the future, aside from an unnecessary sequel. (* * * *) out of five stars.