FEATURE FILM REVIEW
Two brothers investigate their father's connection to mysterious artist, Hettie Entwistle.
A CREW OF DOCUMENTARY filmmakers follows along as two brothers attempt to complete often crazy tasks in order to fulfill the life's work of a mysterious artist. But it's not just about completing the work of the mystifying Hettie Entwistle; it's also about freeing the brother's minds in the process as well as finding the connection between Hettie and the brother's deceased father. Buckle up.
This film is one of those fake documentaries that is played completely straight and honest in that it never tells you it's a faux documentary. That happens to be one of the excellent aspects of The Freedoms and works perfectly within director Mark Garvey's universe. Simon and Callum are two estranged and very different brothers. Callum is the irresponsible one, and Simon is the "by the books" brother with an actual life to live. Callum finds out he is dying and uses his impending doom as a tool to get not only his brother to come along on his spiritual journey but also to entice Mark Garvey and his film crew to commit his journey to film. The ringleader, Kitty Von Abrams, claims she is the final word on Hettie Entwistle and that she alone can shed light on Hettie and the brother's father's relationship. But they have to complete "The Freedoms" within a set time frame and with only one attempt at each task. No exceptions.
THERE'S A REAL SPIRITUAL FEEL TO THIS FILM THAT DOES INCREASE AS THE MOVIE PUSHES FORWARD.
The tasks themselves are not all that difficult, although a few of them (destroying a certain alter, for example) are mentally taxing. As Callum begins his journey, it's not long before Simon becomes more interested in the "Freedoms" than Callum does. Together, the brothers trudge through with Mark Garvey and his crew in tow. There's a real spiritual feel to this film that does increase as the movie pushes forward. The Freedoms shows us the way things are, and that includes the reaction of the camera/sound crew to a lot of these tasks—their "real" reactions and not some puffed-out facsimile of them. Keep in mind that in reality, everything is fake, but unless you know that The Freedoms feels pretty real and true.
THE GIMMICK OF HETTIE ENTWISTLE AND CALLUM/SIMON'S FATHER WAS AN AWESOME WRITING TOOL.
The actual tasks aside, this film is more about relationships than anything else. Having everyone along for the ride to complete these "life-changing" tasks was an excellent way to tell the story of two brothers. The gimmick of Hettie Entwistle and Callum/Simon's father was an awesome writing tool to really get this film kicking into high gear. On a personal note, I should add that following along as the brothers completed their tasks was engulfing and amusing. Even though I knew it was all a fabrication. It dawned on me that The Freedoms could actually be a cool film to act out. Some of the tasks in the movie actually could have therapeutic properties. Now, I know how the film ends, so I won't get into the nitty-gritty of what these "freedoms" actually represented. I'm only saying that on many levels, that real spiritual gain could come from performing tasks similar to what is depicted in this film.
IT ALL WORKS, EVEN THOUGH IT'S ACTUALLY NOT REAL.
The Freedoms is a quick, witty mockumentary with some real appeal once you actually consider the tasks themselves. The main story about the brothers and Hettie herself is one of self-discovery, ruin, and getting back on the horse. It all works, even though it's actually not real. I'll warn you that the film is a little long and sometimes a little repetitive but as a whole? The Freedoms is an excellent diversion on a long slow day.
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