“Overturn” also known as “Overturn: Awakening of the Warrior” caused me to do something I rarely do while reviewing films; watch it a second time. Now that’s not necessarily a ringing endorsement of the film, I just needed a second watch to make sure I didn’t miss anything. If you ever wondered what would happen if you mixed internal strife with “The Matrix” and a dissertation for a philosophy doctorate this film answers that puzzle.
The entire film feels like one giant riddle actually. It weaves in and out of realms, storylines and even perspective in a very static way. It is nearly impossible to follow this film on first viewing there is so much going on; and yet so little.
I don’t want to give away too many spoilers but the plot at it’s core is fairly simple. A man discovers his nightmares are more than dreams and rather him delving into a realm that was previously unknown to him. It’s almost a giant metaphor for the battle between justice and chaos. In fact one character even mentions that there is a balance that needs to be kept that the main character Christopher (John Deryl) needs to help uphold.
John Deryl is the lead in this film and he’s also the writer, director, producer and music composer. I personally understand the value of doing multiple tasks yourself but here Deryl may have wanted to step back from the acting realm. The characters and performances are meant to be stoic; but even with that filter Deryl’s acting comes off way too wooden.
I’m not sure if I agree with the direction to make this a film where everyone talks nonchalantly about life, existential crises and world changing decisions. Yes there are moments where the characters show some real dynamic emotion but for the most part the movie consists of people having one on one conversations. This tires quickly and makes the relatively short running time feel tasking. This movie could have easily been split in half from my viewpoint. So much vague information is repeated and the cinematographer Segey Kachanov seems to be struggling to make conversations in a café as compelling as possible.
“Overturn” is apparently the movie version of a tv/web series of some sort, and perhaps I need to see the tv series first in order to understand fully what is going on. This movie offers little to satisfy the casual movie watcher and builds and builds to an entertaining but ultimately confusing climax. Vitaliy Kiuila deserves praise for the stunt work that helps move along some well shot and edited fight scenes.
Most of the actors did little for me, I cannot say in good faith it is due to the way their characters are written or if it was how they were directed. I just found it very hard to relate to them, there was no straight man in this movie. I don’t mean heterosexual, I mean there was no character that could be the audience and explain to us just what was happening in this world. The movie expects the audience to be able to hop right into this deep waxing of philosophy but I think Deryl overestimated my patience.
All that being said I have to give kudos to Mary Mellow and Philippa Peter they are very engaging on screen and bring some flavor to their otherwise wooden characters. Mellow reminds me very much of Carrie Anne Moss who plays Trinity in “The Matrix” she also serves a similar role, though her utility isn’t as poignant as in the Moss character. Still she has a movie actress quality about her that crosses Moss with model Emma Glover that makes her command the screen. I hope to see more from her in the future. Philippa Peter also shows some strength and potential in the limited time she has on screen.
Overall “Overturn” is neither horrible nor excellent but it is rather boring. And that’s a hard atmosphere to overcome. There seems to be hints of a sequel but I don’t think that’s the best course of action. Grab Kiuila make Mellow and Peter the main protagonists and make an awesome action movie where the best actors can shine. Now that is something I’d want to see.
You can check out “Overturn” at their official page here: http://overturnmovie.com