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Feedback Movie Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Released by Blue Fox Entertainment

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Directed by Pedro C. Alonso 
Written by Pedro C. Alonso and Alberto Marini
2019, 97 minutes, Not Rated
Released on January 17th, 2020

Starring:
Eddie Marsan as Jarvis Dolan
Paul Anderson as Andrew Wilde
Ivana Baquero as Claire
Richard Brake as Hunter / Brennan
Oliver Coopersmith as Wrecker / Alex
Alexis Rodney as Anthony
Alana Boden as Julia

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Review:

More often than not, that sweet spot in horror requires some suspension of disbelief. Usually, it’s more than just a bit, too. You must step into unreality to process demons, monsters, disfigured creatures, and unstoppable killing machines with mommy issues. There’s another sweet spot, though, where all my inner voices simply shut the fuck up and take notes.

That place is where the horror takes place firmly in the real world we live in today; it’s a place where the evil comes from man himself. It’s a banal evil where the consequences are worse than the act itself. When you find that place it’s uncomfortable and all too relatable. Writer/director Pedro C. Alonso’s first English-language film, Feedback, takes us to that place in brutally stylish fashion.

Jarvis Dolan (veteran character actor Eddie Marsan; The World’s End) is a politically controversial radio show host in London. He’s returning to the air after a kidnapping. His boss wants him to reunite with Andrew Wilde (Paul Anderson; Peaky Blinders), the former co-host he rose to fame with. There’s plenty of tension between the two, but it’s nothing compared to the drama to come. Two masked invaders (Richard Brake; 3 from Hell and Oliver Coopersmith; Tin Star), armed with a shotgun and a sledgehammer, have taken over his show and taken the small crew hostage. Jarvis will be forced to confess and atone for he and his partner’s sins on the air, but the truth is more complex than just a dirty secret. Jarvis must decide how much he’s willing to lose and how far he’s willing to go to keep it safe and hidden.

One of the cool parts about the renaissance of horror that we are enjoying today is that a movie like Feedback would have been firmly labeled a “thriller” even a few years ago. No doubt there will still be some who refuse to see how horrific this film is, but make no mistake: This is a horror movie. The violence is Rob Zombie without the flair of trailer park-flavored insanity. The psychology is simple and brutal, the result of probing the depths of darkness that all humans share. The result is the opposite of suspension of disbelief; let’s call it the reality of believability.

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The cast is flat-out superb. Eddie Marsan gets a chance to own an entire film after well over 100 movies of being a highly memorable “that guy!” character in a slew of excellent films. He’s a chameleon here, changing colors with awe-inspiring ease. Paul Anderson owns it as the rock star co-host. He’s sleazy, cool, and stereotypical in the best way possible (if you’ve seen him as Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders then you won’t be surprised at all). As a horror fan, I don’t even need to tell you at this point what a thoroughly bad ass S.O.B. Richard Brake is. The cool part about his role in Feedback is the layers of humanity in what is essentially a villain’s role. Brake once again proves there’s much more to him than simple madness. He’s show-stealing.

The cinematography and layout are essentially a one-room show. The high-tech and high-end studio is a character unto itself. It’s slick, stylish, and dripping with power and influence. The setting highlights the world that Jarvis and Andrew live in and rule over. Lovely things are done with the sound design, especially with the Dead Room and the time delay broadcast. The drama does get a bit loud and competitive with itself at times, which can be distracting, but it also reminded me of political pundits arguing over each other on a news network. Very fitting.

There are moral quandaries at play in Feedback, both in terms of the character’s choices and the current events and political strife (#MeToo, Brexit) that serves as window dressing. Pedro C. Alonso is careful not to implicitly ask you to take a stand, but you surely will anyways. Doing so will make the ending that much more impactful. It’s one of those movies that make it virtually impossible to remain neutral. I like that.

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Grades:

Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Writer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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