Case Number 25546: Small Claims Court


E1 Entertainment // 2010 // 87 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 14th, 2013

The Charge

Reunions can be murder.

The Case

Robert Longfellow (Martin Donovan, Insomnia) is a renowned playwright in the middle of a creative dry spell. His latest high-profile production is a very famous flop. To extricate himself from the bad press and general dysfunction of his professional life, Longfellow returns home to the neighborhood he grew up.

It's not long before a controversial character from his past re-inserts himself into Longfellow's life: kooky, belligerent neighbor Gus (David Morse, The Green Mile). Robert, eager to dispense with the pretentious goings-on of his Soho life, embraces the easygoing, plainspoken drunkenness Gus brings to the table. Unfortunately, their playful conversation takes a dark turn, when a knock at the door reveals a hostage standoff with Gus and Robert engaging in a game of psychological cat-and-mouse.

Collaborator is one of those movies where I feel like I need to say I like it. Objectively speaking, the performances are solid. Martin Donovan and David Morse do good work and manufacture some genuine chemistry. I've probably seen Morse in a trillion things over the years, but he gets to do some pretty dynamic stuff here. Gus is a dangerous, unhinged dude and Morse blends his always intimidating screen presence with lethal unpredictability.

That last sentence sounds like some douchey accolade you'd seen clipped in a playbill of an off-Broadway play, huh? That's because Collaborator feels like a play that someone pointed a film camera at and floated some greenbacks to an editor to string it together.

That's not intended to be some kind of backhanded compliment. Donovan and Morse are magnetic enough to carry the film on their own. Which they have to, because the action doesn't show up until the final third of the film. Following some plot buildup and exposition, the narrative shifts into stand-off mode and from that point forward its pretty much these two guys.

This is where Collaborator ultimately fell short. As much as these guys work at it, the pace just goes glacial. The film is one sustained mind-F, with very little plot upheaval to keep things interesting. Longfellow tries to employ some tricks to get out of the situation, but these maneuvers just aren't enough to juice the proceedings. Only during the endgame do things pick up.

So, yes, I feel like a plebe revealing my boredom with Collaborator, but what can I tell you...I also like the live-action Transformers movies.

Straightforward DVD: 1.78:1, Dolby 5.1 Surround, and a pair of interviews with Martin Donovan and co-star Olivia Williams.

The Verdict

Good acting. Slow flick.

Review content copyright © 2013 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile
Studio: E1 Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

* English (SDH)

Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Interviews

* IMDb