Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review: Charlie Victor Romeo

Image courtesy of 'Charlie Victor Romeo' Facebook page.
"Charlie Victor Romeo" is an example of an intriguing concept with a mediocre execution. The film is intermittently nerve-wracking and stultifying.

Based on a 1999 play, the film takes a documentary-style approach to portraying six airline emergencies that were based on 'Black Box' recordings. In other words, the scenes being acted out by the film's cast is, mostly, a word-for-word reenactment of actual airplane crashes that took place prior to 9/11.

At its best, the film makes for a slightly queasy and occasionally riveting experience of watching professionals under pressure. The film is being presented in 3-D, which I thought to be a little strange, considering that all we see throughout the entire picture is a tight shot of the various pilots involved in the crashes. A friend pointed out that the format was, perhaps, utilized to create a claustrophobic feel and she is very likely correct. Regardless, the use of 3-D does not add much to the experience.

Despite the obviously intense nature of the film's material, "Charlie Victor Romeo" becomes a bit dull for long stretches. On the one hand, I was thankful that the filmmakers did not melodramatize the proceedings with speech making or sentimentality. But, on the other, the shouting of technical jargon does not make for the most riveting filmgoing experience.

Another problem with "Charlie Victor Romeo" is that its performances often feel as if they belong more to the stage than to a feature film. The movie is, after all, based on a play, but the transition from stage to screen does not completely work.

I'll give the directors - Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels and Karlyn Michelson - credit for attempting something something different with this film, which is fairly unique in concept. Unfortunately, its execution leaves a little too much to be desired.

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