Movie Renovation: Wildflower

See original review here.

 

Production Improvements

Much like other movies that need renovations, Wildflower has a very professional production.  As expected, the only issue that needs improvement here is the editing, as it is quite choppy.  However, this is related to the plot, so if this had been rectified, the production would have been nearly perfect.

Plot and Storyline Improvements

Wildflower is one of the most frustrating plots to witness.  It is billed as a unique psychological thriller, and at first, it seems like it has a lot of potential.  However, the more it goes on, the more disappointing it becomes due to narration and overly obvious elements.  The mystery factors and intended elements of surprise are crippled by the poor presentation of the story.  It tries to become too complicated and involved without properly developing the characters or even what the psychological concept behind this plot is trying to convey or model.  For example, the flashbacks\dreams of the protagonist are intriguing, but what about other elements of trauma?  In a similar vein, the antagonist of the story is too obvious, and the scope of the psychological elements are too limited.  Also, the artistic elements of this film are creative and interesting, but there are times when the plot gets lost in them.  This plot could have been greatly improved with a more well-charted psychological journey without narration, in order to preserve the element of surprise in the plot twists.  A more pertinent study of the effects of trauma and causes of dissociation would have made this movie a lot more realistic.  Of course, allowing the characters to develop naturally through substantial dialogue and flashbacks is always a must in a psychological plot.  Finally, the actions and motivations of the characters need to be better explained without so much reliance on coincidences and vague ideas.  There was tons of potential here; it just needed to be better developed.

Acting Improvements

For the most part, this cast was very professional, even with a fairly difficult script to work with.  Much like the plot affecting the editing, improving some of the dialogue would have likely improved some of the lines that the cast members didn’t have much to work with.  However, there were some underwhelming moments that could have been improved, as well as some overly dramatic sequences.

Conclusion

We absolutely need more psychological thrillers in Christian film, but they need to be well-constructed, well-thought-out, and well-researched.  Trauma and dissociation are great topics to explore, but they need to be grounded in reality and not vaguely presented.  Also, narration rarely helps a movie, and the motivations of characters need to be demonstrated through deep dialogue and engaging flashbacks.  Moreover, we believe that Nicholas DiBella has tons of potential as a film maker and will continue to improve in his career.

 

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Wildflower [2016] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Chloe has a dark secret that haunts her, but she doesn’t quite know what it is.  She is plagued by nightmares and flashbacks of something that lurks below her consciousness, but she cannot quantify it.  She also does not want to talk to anyone about it except her trusted friend Rebecca.  Chloe has pushed everyone away, including her mother.  But when she is faced with something she cannot reconcile, she will have to reach out to someone before it’s too late.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

The Faith Street Films team has consistently shown a commitment to quality productions—this is evident again in Wildflower.  Camera work is professional, as is video quality.  Audio quality is error-free and the soundtrack is superb and enhances the experience.  Sets and locations are good as well.  The only problem to point out here is editing.  Some scenes are unnecessarily long while others are cut too short.  As will be discussed next, too much of the same thing happens.  But overall, this is a great production that shows great promise.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

Wildflower is a much-needed Christian psychological thriller, but it’s extremely frustrating to watch, knowing all that could have been.  For starters, the heavy-handed narration throughout doesn’t allow the plot to develop naturally.  Great issues are raised here, but the characters are stunted by too much narration and not enough dialogue.  Though there are excellent psychological elements and flashbacks, the plot is based too much on coincidences.  Overall, we know that the creators mean well and is was great to try something different, but without deeper development, the storyline and its characters are left only halfway finished.  We would love to see this concept remade in some way.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Though this cast is relatively small, they do a fairly good job pulling this off.  They are mostly believable, but there are some underwhelming performances that seem to hold this film back from being all that it could be.  Emotions are mostly realistic, but there are some overdone elements that distract from the story.  In short, this is an above-average effort that had the ability to be better.

Conclusion

It is always disappointing to see a downgrade from Hall of Fame, especially since King’s Faith was enjoyable.  We love psychological thrillers, but Wildflower left us wanting for more.  The issues portrayed in this film are important and need to be discussed, we fear the way they are packaged in this film will turn people off.  We sincerely wish this plot could be reworked so that it could reach its full greatness.  Nonetheless, Nicholas DiBella and his team are certainly talented and we can’t wait to see what they have planned next.

 

Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points

  

Full disclosure: We were provided by the creator with a copy of this film in exchange for a fair and honest review

 

Pure (pre-production)

Currently being filmed

Website

Writer(s): Nicolas DiBella,

Director(s): Nicolas DiBella,

Producer(s): James Pavone, Nicolas DiBella, Marc Wax

Starring: TBA

Plot Synopsis: A young boy growing up on the tough streets of Atlanta escapes the violence of his neighborhood by hanging around a city golf course. It’s there that the course manager notices that he has a God-given gift for the game that cannot be explained.

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (pre-production)

Trailer

 

Being filmed late 2017

Website

 

Writer(s): Nicolas DiBella, Paul Root,

Director(s): Nicolas DiBella,

Producer(s): Nicolas DiBella, Marc Wax, James Pavone

Starring: 

 

Plot Synopsis:

Based on a true story that took place during the late-1960s, five young men studying to become priests were among the first seminarians in the country to be taken out of an all-male Catholic seminary and placed in an experimental program on the grounds of a co-ed university. Inspired by one of their teachers to break away from the confines the administration imposes on them, the five start broadening their experiences and bringing about positive change to themselves and others.

Their missionary zeal takes them to help migrant workers in farm camps, to anti-war rallies, and ultimately to covertly starting a home in the inner-city for the troubled youth of the area – all unbeknownst to their seminary leaders.

In defiance of church rules and numerous municipal ordinances, they are guided by what they believe in their hearts to be the moral imperative. They clash with their superiors and dangerous elements on the street that don’t appreciate the friends setting up shop in the middle of their territory. And all comes to a climactic breaking point when they set out to save the life of a young runaway who has fallen through the cracks of society and the church.

This powerful story of young men trying to lead purposeful lives in the midst of social chaos and personal change is a timeless one that reflects the era it is set in as well as our current time. It is a journey of triumphs and pitfalls that will touch the minds and hearts of those who have walked most of their own path and those just starting out on theirs.

King’s Faith (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Brendan King has been everywhere and done nearly everything.  Mike and Vanessa are not the first foster parents he has had, but they have agreed to give him one last chance to help him finish high school and turn his life around for good.  Informed by his newfound faith, Brendan seeks to leave his checkered past behind and discover exactly what God wants him to do.  But he did not expect to get pulled into the troubled life of the local homecoming queen, be harassed by a suspicious detective friend of his new foster parents, or be visited by unwelcome characters from his criminal past.  In spite of the odds against him, Brendan must dig deep in his faith in order to navigate the turbulent waters ahead.

 

Production Quality (2.5 points)

King’s Faith may be an obscure Christian film, but it is certainly not to be overlooked.  The production quality is envied by many low budget independent movies.  Its camera work is great, as is the video and sound quality.  The editing puts many unique scenes together skillfully.  Diverse sets are used to film many different types of scenes, from action to soft.  The costuming and makeup work are good.  The only caveat here is that there seems to be a few filler scenes to lengthen the runtime.  Otherwise, there is nothing to complain about in the production of King’s Faith.  It sets a new standard for first-time independent Christian films.

Plot and Storyline Quality (2 points)

King’s Faith is based on true events, and the plot captures a sense of realism.  It is a semi-linear plot, and not completely non-linear.  The dialogue is authentic, thus building the characters well.  The intentions and personality traits of the characters are showcased well.  Issues that face juvenile ex-convicts are portrayed well.  The end is not what is usually expected of semi-inspirational plots.  However, as previously mentioned, there is some wasted time in the movie.  Another issue is the presence of unnecessary narration.  We suggest that more flashbacks to build the characters would have remedied both of these issues, thus creating a perfect plot score.  Nonetheless, King’s Faith is a great plot and an excellent starting point for future movies from this crew.

Acting Quality (3 points)

For a cast of little-known actors in an obscure movie, the acting is excellent.  Nothing is overplayed and emotions are displayed accurately.  This demonstrates the handiwork of great acting coaching.  Though the cast is modest in number, they carry the movie well and prove that it is possible to have great acting in a lesser-known independent film.

Conclusion

Re-integrating into society after concerted jail time is difficult for a juvenile offender.  Such a person needs a social safety net, accountability, and a purpose in life.  King’s Faith deals with all of these issues without being too obvious or preachy.  The Christian worldview is slightly understated, but it is not lacking.  Overall, King’s Faith demonstrates that there is no excuse to ever make a cheap Christian film.  Though it is not dynamic, it is profound and worth your time.

 

Final Rating: 7.5 out of 10 points