Maverick Entertainment // 2006 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // September 14th, 2007
For Better or For Evil
Myles (E. Roger Mitchell, Diary of a Mad Black Woman) and Tory (Paula Rittie, 25th Hour) are having some relationship difficulties that mostly stem from Tory's insatiable jealousy. Some stuff happens and then Myles buys an engagement ring from the Devil's daughter. Not that he's aware of this before he buys the ring. The Devil also shows up at some point for some indeterminate reason. At least I think it's the Devil. I'm going to be honest; I'm really just using the back of the box to figure out what I just watched. This is one of the few times I'd recommend that you read the back of the box before watching the movie, if only so you can have some kind of guide to figure out just what the Sam Hill is going on here.
The story itself is fairly confusing, a jumble of disparate plot elements and barely defined characters. Random characters appear onscreen without any introduction, spit out some inaudible dialogue, and then vanish without a trace. There's one fellow who is never explained, but he might be the Devil. Or he might not be. Flashbacks kind of illuminate what's going on, but only two-thirds of the way through the picture.
There are scenes that serve no purpose except to exasperate the audience, such as the lengthy scene between Tory and her supposed best friend. It doesn't help that there are constant continuity errors throughout a largely superfluous scene that just serves to show what an awful friend Tory has. Myles has a similar scene with one of his friends, but at least his friend is likable and there's an obvious chemistry between the two actors. But that doesn't change the fact that the scene adds virtually nothing to the movie itself and the sound quality drops drastically.
And the problem with the sound isn't limited to that one scene. I had to keep turning up the volume to try and make out what people were saying. And then quickly had to turn the volume down when the sound increased dramatically. I'm not saying I don't like having to constantly adjust the volume just so I can figure out what's going on, but I'm sure there are some folks who don't like hands-on movies.
The acting varies wildly. E. Roger Mitchell and Paula Rittie are fine as the leads, but Mystie Smith, who played Tory's friend, employed the "loud" method of acting that doesn't sit well with me.
And it keeps tacking on the endings. There are several points where The Devil's Diamond could have flashed fin across the screen and I would have been happy. But there was always one more scene. Until finally I got to watch a car slowly recede into the distance.
The video quality is also pretty poor. I don't know if it's the transfer or how it was filmed, but The Devil's Diamond looks like it was filmed through cheesecloth, everything has a kind of fuzzy quality.
The extra is a collection of interviews with the cast and crew. They're fairly in-depth and make me feel guilty for slamming The Devil's Diamond because they obviously cared about the project.
I don't usually like to be so harsh to an independent film that was obviously made on a low budget, but the low budget just doesn't explain the mishandled and convoluted plot. Guilty.
Review content copyright © 2007 Dylan Charles; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Maverick Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Cast and Director Interviews