Thursday 18 May 2023

Movie Review: Mass (2021)

Genre: Drama
Director: Fran Kranz
Starring: Martha Plimpton, Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs, Reed Birney
Running Time: 110 minutes

Synopsis: Two couples participate in an arranged meeting: Richard and Linda (Reed Birney and Ann Dowd) are the parents of a young man responsible for a school mass shooting in which Jay and Gail (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton) lost their son. Over the course of the meeting, the two couples trade frustrations, anger, and guilt.

What Works Well: This is a theatrically stark, one-room, four-people drama focused on a tragedy's aftermath. Writer and director Fran Kranz explores the mass shooting topic from multiple angles, including guns, mental health, upbringing, interventions, violent video games, bullying, shame, and pure evil. With impeccable acting from the four leads, rage emerges through unmitigated sorrow and the longing for accountability and answers.

What Does Not Work As Well: For all the talking and passion, the search for understanding remains stranded in the wilderness of a damaged society. The script is never too far away from melodrama and dutifully plods to the most obvious outcome. The content is better suited to a 90 minute duration, Kranz padding proceedings with an unnecessarily long prepare-the-room introduction. 

Conclusion: A committed but also obvious dissertation on an essential topic.

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