Although "The Unseen" consists of wall-to-wall Southern archetypes that were already creaky during the Civil War, thesping carries the day in this contempo tale of two boyhood pals whose rural Georgia friendship was poisoned by a secret both men have carried into adulthood.

Although “The Unseen” consists of wall-to-wall Southern archetypes that were already creaky during the Civil War, thesping carries the day in this contempo tale of two boyhood pals whose rural Georgia friendship was poisoned by a secret both men have carried into adulthood. Baroque and extreme situations dominate the pic, written (in six days, according to catalogue notes) and helmed by stunt woman Lisa France. There’s plenty of talent on display, although only patient viewers will readily accept so much misfortune laid out with such neat narrative symmetry.

African-American professor Roy Clemens (Steve Harris) returns home when his father dies. Nobody else seems to have gotten out of town or accomplished much, least of all redneck Harold (Gale Harold) who keeps his blind, sweet-natured younger brother Sammy (Phillip Bloch) a prisoner in their rundown house despite his g.f. Kathleen’s (Michelle Clunie) objections. Although predominantly white townsfolk pry, decent soft-spoken Roy won’t say anything to dispel nasty rumors about why he and Harold are at odds. Late-arriving explanation is powerful enough to justify the suspense, but a host of textbook afflictions and aspirations threaten to capsize the incident-laden yet leisurely script.

The Unseen

Production

A Luis Moro Prods. production in association with Lab 601 in conjunction with Digital Arts Entertainment Lab. (International sales: Luis Moro Prods., Hollywood.) Produced by Luis Moro, Lisa France, Phillip Bloch. Executive producer, Diane Wandless. Directed, written by Lisa France.

Crew

Camera (color, DigiBeta), Jim Hunter; editor, Noel Dowd; music, Dean Parker; production designer, Michael Levinson; associate producer, Barbara Miller. Reviewed on DVD at Chicago Film Festival ("Focus: USA," non-competing), Oct 12, 2005. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Steve Harris, Gale Harold, Phillip Bloch, Catherine Dent, Michelle Clunie, Judah Friedlander, Shirley Caesar, Daisy McCrackin.
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