Cinema Epoch // 2006 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 19th, 2006
The last thing he wants to be is alone.
What happens when you cross a powerful politician with an erotic game of Twister? Bad things, dude. Bad things.
Congressman Robert Hamilton (Christopher Stapleton) is running for Senator, and thanks to his big named father and crack team of strategists, he has a shot at winning the seat. Looming is major policy speech that will determine the course of the campaign, and to concentrate, Robert takes his two closest campaign confidants to a secluded cabin in the mountains. Corin Matthews (Missy Crider) and Mike Donahue (Jefferson Arca) are his go-to operatives, and the three settle in for a weekend of hard-nosed strategery.
But it doesn't take long for the whole operation to go downhill. Corin fires up the party girl instinct and convinces Robert to get wasted, suck down some PCP, and run around shirtless in the woods. Meanwhile Mike grits his teeth in the back ground as he sees his boss do his best to screw up the sole purpose for the weekend getaway. And it gets worse: the morning after Corin and Robert get a tad too frisky, Corin vanishes. Then Corin's burly, short-tempered husband Glenn (Chris Gann) shows up. And finally Robert's wife (Catherine Sheehan) drops by. Oh yes, violence will go down.
As writer and director Steve Mudd states in his commentary, Seclusion a movie about politics, not a political movie. This is one of those neutrally political films, where the main character's ideological persuasion is never revealed. Robert Hamilton is just a politician, and it this characterization, and all the baggage that goes with it, that draws most of the focus in this interesting, though only slighter better-than-average psychological thriller.
That aforementioned baggage is always the most engaging stuff in movies like this, though the exploration of political power-plays and their ramification have been explored ad nauseum. Regardless, the crap-pile that Robert finds himself hip-deep in is a direct result of his soft will and the compromises he's willing to make to scarf up some power.
That's the overt theme at least. The other aspect of the film is a straight thriller, as we spend the second and third acts trying to get to the bottom of Corin's disappearance and the @#$%-storm that Glenn brings with him when comes looking for her. Corin bows out a little past the midpoint of the film, and the narrative shifts its focus to the face-off between Robert and Glenn. This confrontation works because both actors are believable in their roles, Stapleton as the panicky adulterer and Gann as the short-fused jilted boyfriend who seems to be just aching to punch someone in the throat.
Unfortunately, that particular mystery is solved pretty quick, leaving only the surprise presence of Robert's wife to shoulder the dramatic tension load. There's a tasty moment of brutal awkwardness toward the end when she finds out the truth about her husband and Corin's relationship, but the money shot ending is predictable. I would have preferred the self-described "darker" ending, featured in the bonus features, but what do I know? Still, Seclusion doesn't disappoint; in fact, it moderately succeeds on both fronts -- as a commentary on the corrupting influence of political power and as a basic thriller. It's probably not worth a purchase, but if someone has it playing in their living room during a house party or something, pause and give it a look-see.
Seclusion isn't a bad little flick, bolstered by solid performances and sharp writing. The disc is simple, but effective: a clean 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation, commentary by director Steve Mudd, 17 minutes of deleted scenes, and a still gallery.
The accused is not a crook.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Cinema Epoch
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Director Commentary
* Deleted Scenes
* Still Gallery