thriller, romantic drama with its share of comedic moments, "Spiral" is transfixing.
The center of the entire cornucopia is Joel David Moore. Besides possessing a fantastic first name, Moore wrote, directed and stars as Mason, a gifted, if not troubled human being. The main character, with Moore at its heart and head, is equally enticing, menacing and disarming as the audience is lulled into pulling for a character whose secrets are knowingly dark.
Yet Mason breathes redemption and through Moore's prose and acting power, he is the quintessential anti-hero. The screen in recent memory has failed to produce anything as compelling as Mason's pathos.
Amber Tamblyn stars as Amber, who takes an interest in Mason as the new girl in the insurance sales office where Mason works his days away. The actress is innocently beautiful in this role and brings a career of character brilliance to a zenith with her moments onscreen as the person trying to detangle Mason's Rubik's Cube persona.
Mason, as a painter, is able to capture people's souls through his palette. Yet, it is through those eyes that the film takes a unique feel. As Mason paints Amber, you can see the conflict rage through Moore's soft eyes. Amber is the first person in ions who has paid him any attention. The fact she is stunning and funny clearly causes Mason's mind to go to places he is unfamiliar: caring and love. As she cracks his exterior and melts his wall of ice, Amber learns more about Mason's past sending the film into its tense final act.
Reflecting today's "if you dig too deep" weariness in society's populous, "Spiral" ushers its viewers into a whirlpool of sociability meets secluded insanity. What makes the film so effective is the dynamic portrayal of Mason by Moore. The actor's range is on full display. There are moments of utter joy sprinkled throughout his performance of darkened, conflicted sorrow.
The city of Portland also plays a major role in the film. Without the locale's grays and Northwest aura, "Spiral," may not have been as chilling set anywhere else.
Familiar to audiences for his role in "Dodgeball," Moore and "Spiral" co-star Zachary Levi trades in his pencil pack from NBC's "Chuck" for the straight laced, Berkeley. Levi's character serves as Mason's boss at the office and essentially has enrolled himself as the role of mentor. As Mason's metamorphosis from cagey loner to somewhat social individual is catapulted through Amber's arrival in the office, his relationship with Berkeley also changes. Through Levi's performance, his too-cool-for-school demeanor slips into earnest friendly concern for Mason.
Moore is currently in New Zealand shooting the return of James "King of the World" Cameron to the cinema. Working on Cameron's "Avatar" has proven prolific for this young auteur evidenced by his haunting "Spiral." Cameron has employed an actor whose "Spiral," his latest screenwriting and directing triumph, is one truly haunting accomplishment.
"Spiral" arrives in select theaters February 9 before landing on DVD nationwide February 19. The film is part of a welcomed motion picture changing trend: the quality film, with outstanding, talented creative forces behind them that does not have to debut in 3,000 theaters to be considered gripping pieces of art.
Visit SheKnows on Friday for our exclusive interview with creator and star Joel David Moore and his co-star, Zachary Levi. Then on Saturday, we chat with Amber Tamblyn.
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