Thick (2015) – By Matthew Robinson

“Thick” is a crime drama from the team of Cheryl Brown & Anthony Greene. Produced under the Skyrocket Productions banner this film tells the story of a DC crime lord named Theresa James (Tia Dae) who is trying to hold onto her power as underlings vie for power.

As someone from Washington, D.C. I must admit it was nice to see a crime story unfold in my hometown. I’ve always felt that D.C. was an underutilized locale for crime dramas as its art deco trappings and modern vibe have always made it an aesthetically appealing city. It lends itself well to a neo-noir story and it gives a great backdrop for consistent parallels of political gamesmanship. “Thick” benefits greatly from this but at times allows the story to feel too small.

Budget restrictions are definitely afoot on this project as you can tell there are several set pieces they wanted to do in a bigger way. That being said directors and writers Brown & Green do a good job of setting up the tension, stakes and characters of this world. While it does take a bit too long to become fully invested in the plot once you are in it becomes a subtle and tense ride.

Omar Juarez is the director of photography on this film as well as a co-editor and his style definitely helps elevate the project. The camera dollies in and out of scenes, pushing and panning in to create a kinetic energy that makes you tense up waiting for something potentially violent and or destructive to happen. There is a tactical approach to many of the scenes in the film, though there are maybe one too many wide shots that are relied upon.

While the acting can be a tad inconsistent at times for the most part everyone does a good job. There are a few scenes notably during the third act that leave a lot of meat on the bone in terms of the performances of the actors but the script manages to carry it to the finish line. Tia Dae is the strongest actress in the bunch showing some real range and power in her performance. Dae is not a large woman nor instantly intimidating but she oozes that in her aura as the film progresses. I would not be opposed to seeing another film where her character makes an appearance. Mick McGuire is another standout from the film playing a dirty cop who doesn’t seem to understand the value of discretion.

Brown and Greene make a good team and I’d like to see more from them in the future. “Thick” tells a straightforward story and is competently put together to create an entertaining experience. In the indie world sometimes the temptation is to do something wild and different but here they just make something that is simply worth watching.

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