Sympathy

By the time this movie season is over, the motel business should be in ruins. "Vacancy" and "Bug" promise to do as little for innkeeping as "Psycho" ever did, and now "Sympathy" -- shot entirely in one rented room, albeit with more angles than an eight-sided poker player -- should have people checking out everywhere. But they might consider checking into "Sympathy," debuting in a limited run in at BevHills' Fine Arts Theater.

With:
Trip - Steven Pritchard Dennis - Aaron Boucher Sara - Marina Shtelen

By the time this movie season is over, the motel business should be in ruins. “Vacancy” and “Bug” promise to do as little for innkeeping as “Psycho” ever did, and now “Sympathy” — shot entirely in one rented room, albeit with more angles than an eight-sided poker player — should have people checking out everywhere. But they might consider checking into “Sympathy,” debuting in a limited run in at BevHills’ Fine Arts Theater.

It’s a hysterical film, intense, hyperkinetic and, by definition, an experiment — as much an exercise as Hitchcock’s “Rope” or Richard Linklater’s “Tape,” which were also virtually confined to one room (and in “Rope’s” case, single takes). Helmer Andrew Moorman, who also shot and edited his low-budget indie, uses every perspective afforded him in the single room, shifting during one intense sequence to split-screen, but maintaining an off-balance tension throughout.

Working with a script by Arik Martin (who adapted his own play), Moorman keeps his cards close to his vest. But it’s clear that there’s more to the situation than meets the eye when Trip (Steven Pritchard) and Sara (Marina Shtelen) tumble into their rented room, he with a gun to her head and she, shortly, in handcuffs. He’s a bank robber; she’s his hostage. But very little is what it seems.

It’s a curious thing about implausibilities: One or two can ruin a movie; six or seven and you don’t notice anymore. The film moves into the realm of allegory and faux fantasy, albeit a blood-drenched one. Trip, in an effort to silence Sara with a pillow, accidentally shoots her in the shoulder. This does little to dampen her cockiness but it does tick her off. Trip is no match for her, even with help: Dennis (Aaron Boucher), an escaped convict who picks their room, of all the rooms in the world, to walk into.

“Sympathy” is hardly a masterpiece of screenwriting, as too many questions hang in the air for too long. Where the pic really works is in its editing, its strong performances by all three leads and its sound, which is glorious.

Pic also works as a well-guided female empowerment missile — few women on film have managed to terrorize two possibly psychotic males while handcuffed to a bed and bleeding to death. One shudders to speculate what a healthy Sara might have been capable of doing.

Sympathy

Production: A Furnessville Pictures presentation of a Barry Perry production. Produced by Andrew Moorman, Arik Martin. Executive producers, Steve Barry, Brad Perry. Directed, edited by Andrew Moorman. Screenplay, Arik Martin, based on his play.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Moorman; music, Dave Hodge, Todor Kobakov; set designers, Moorman, Jason Boucher; sound designer/sound supervisor (Dolby), Onnalee Blank; re-recording mixer, Aaron Levy; visual effects supervisor, Richard F. Spencer; assistant director, Eddie Pearson; associate producers, Pearson, Andy Martin, Joan Bever. Reviewed at Fine Arts Theater, Beverly Hills, April 18, 2007. Running time: 105 MIN.

With: Trip - Steven Pritchard Dennis - Aaron Boucher Sara - Marina Shtelen

More Film

  • 'The Green Fog' Review: A Heartfelt,

    Film Review: 'The Green Fog'

    By the time this movie season is over, the motel business should be in ruins. “Vacancy” and “Bug” promise to do as little for innkeeping as “Psycho” ever did, and now “Sympathy” — shot entirely in one rented room, albeit with more angles than an eight-sided poker player — should have people checking out everywhere. […]

  • Korean Giant to Emerge from CJ

    Korea's CJ Orders up Merger of Media and Shopping Units

    By the time this movie season is over, the motel business should be in ruins. “Vacancy” and “Bug” promise to do as little for innkeeping as “Psycho” ever did, and now “Sympathy” — shot entirely in one rented room, albeit with more angles than an eight-sided poker player — should have people checking out everywhere. […]

  • Stanley Tucci Joins Rosamund Pike, Jamie

    Stanley Tucci Joins Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan in 'A Private War' (EXCLUSIVE)

    By the time this movie season is over, the motel business should be in ruins. “Vacancy” and “Bug” promise to do as little for innkeeping as “Psycho” ever did, and now “Sympathy” — shot entirely in one rented room, albeit with more angles than an eight-sided poker player — should have people checking out everywhere. […]

  • 2017 Tribeca Film Festival slate

    Palm Springs Film Review: 'The Last Movie Star'

    By the time this movie season is over, the motel business should be in ruins. “Vacancy” and “Bug” promise to do as little for innkeeping as “Psycho” ever did, and now “Sympathy” — shot entirely in one rented room, albeit with more angles than an eight-sided poker player — should have people checking out everywhere. […]

  • Australia Film Funding: 'Go Karts,' '100%

    'Go Karts,' '100% Wolf' Head Funding Slate for Screenwest, Screen Australia

    By the time this movie season is over, the motel business should be in ruins. “Vacancy” and “Bug” promise to do as little for innkeeping as “Psycho” ever did, and now “Sympathy” — shot entirely in one rented room, albeit with more angles than an eight-sided poker player — should have people checking out everywhere. […]

  • 'The Gold Seekers' Review: Palm Springs

    Palm Springs Film Review: 'The Gold Seekers'

    By the time this movie season is over, the motel business should be in ruins. “Vacancy” and “Bug” promise to do as little for innkeeping as “Psycho” ever did, and now “Sympathy” — shot entirely in one rented room, albeit with more angles than an eight-sided poker player — should have people checking out everywhere. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content