A Life Not To Follow (2015)

This Neo-Noir film is one very different to others I’ve seen before, and this was good. As the title states, the characters in this film are ones that you wish to never be. They are lives which have gone too far into the “society’s underbelly”, which is full of darkness. The unique set-up of this film was one to enjoy. Time is mashed about as the film is broken down into three chapters. The three chapters all connected one way or another making more sense of the plot, but they all followed different characters.

Chapter One. This chapter revolved around Eric (Fiore Leo), a man who knew it was his end. But one that wanted to go out with a bang. Literally. As it is the first chapter, you are thrown straight into this plot, one where you don’t know any characters or where the plot is going. It’s like you’re thrown in the middle of the film, something which is clever in keeping the audience intrigued until the very end. The performance of Eric in this chapter is very strong; flashbacks are used to explain his narrated stories and as his past unfolds to the audience, we become more aware of what his plans are before he dies. His character is very troubled, but the blame for this is clearly based upon someone else. This chapter was very tense, waiting with for inevitable or just waiting for him to actually explain everything to his girlfriend, Finola (Erica Derrickson). This was clever as well, as she didn’t know anything alike to the audience; we learn along with her. I also enjoyed the freeze frames, even that they were slightly blurry this actually gave a strong effect to the film.


Chapter Two. This is the next day. Things are slightly different in this chapter. We find out in the first chapter about a certain gang in town, but this one moves away from that gang onto another; this gives the audience some sort of sense that there is more to this society that what was let on in the first chapter. Right from the beginning of this chapter, we know that something bad is going to happen. In the darkness of the night a young girl is chased by an angry man; immediate danger. The story then jumps to Angelo (John Martellucci), the man this chapter is more based around. We learn a bit about “the family” as he calls it, and Angelo is ordered to kill Luca (Michael Capozzi), his best friend. This chapter follows the struggles that Angelo feels, and his desperate desire to not go through with this plan. The audience is pulled in unknown to what he might do, and once we become certain of his plan, we are thrown and showed something rather different in a twist.


Chapter Three. Back to the beginning it is. This is the most important chapter, bringing things into light for the audience. Strangely, the audience feel like they know more than the audience, having seen them in the first two chapters. But still things are connected and they shine a bright light onto the truth behind every chapter. This chapter is revolved around yet another individual, this time it being an ex FBI agent, Tobias (David Graziano). I really liked that there was voice narration to this chapter, Tobias lets the audience into his sleepy, alcohol-driven mind; a mind in which only wants to find the truth to what happened to Eliza (Molly Kay), a missing girl in which we see both in the first and second chapters. There were a few other additions to this chapter that boosted the style of the film, for example the freeze on a character and Tobias narrating his opinions (which was seen in chapter one as well); additionally, the fast edited pace which seems to portray the agony of Tobias and the struggles he is feeling; or even the restricted lighting, the audience struggling to see captivated into that darker side of town. The last minutes of this chapter was where everything became real for the audience, them finally understanding that one part of society that threw everything about; and these minutes are tense, just waiting.


Even though they follow certain individuals, they all connect in one way or another; and they all represent a society in which good things never happen. Everyone seems to be caught or wrapped into the bad side of town and unable to escape from it. The film also gives this feeling after the film has finished, things aren’t over. The whole film has a black and white tint to it, this resembles the darkness, crime, trouble and violence. It also swears a lot, so this film is definitely for older ages. Between each chapter, there was a separation to this darkness, full of colour and a happy young woman. This contrast could be taken in two ways, either that some light gets caught in the dark, or that there is always some light in the dark.

Overall, the plot was intriguing and quite powerful for the audience. It was a unique style to represent all the emotions and all the lives you wish not to follow. This isn’t a film that is supposed to make the audience feel comfortable and easy-going; instead it is the opposite, they are thrown about into a lot of death and harsh realities once upon a time.


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