Friday, 29 January 2010

I'm Not Harry Jenson: Movie Review

I'm Not Harry Jenson: Movie Review

I'm Not Harry Jenson
Rating: 6/10
Cast: Gareth Reeves,Marshall Napier, Renato Bartolomei, Ian Mune, Jinny Lee Story
Director: James Napier Robertson
A low budget noir thriller, I'm Not Harry Jenson tells the tale of best selling crime novelist Stanley Merse (Gareth Reeves).
Merse has hit a bout of writer's block as he tries to pull together his latest book about a killer, Harry Jenson. Despite the best attempts of a hooker and his agent and with the possibility of quitting his latest book, at the behest of his agent, Merse decides to take some time out to clear his mind.
He heads off on a hike in the bush with a gang of people he's never met before - but things turn nasty when one of his fellow trampers ( Shortland Street's Ben Mitchell) is found dead the next day - and Jenson's covered in blood.
Matters are made worse when another of the camping gang is found dead the following dead - and when flashbacks start showing Merse he was at the scene, he begins to question his sanity.
Has he crossed an unthinkable line and begun to live life as a murderer rather than just writing about it?
I'm Not Harry Jenson is a decent noir thriller for a first time director - shot entirely in Auckland's Waitakere Ranges, it uses the scenery brilliantly with sweeping aerial shots and looks stunning on the screen - which is quite an achievement given how tight the budget was for this film by director and writer James Napier Robertson.
There's a suitable edge of paranoia rumbling through - with scenes of close cut dialogue throughout - and it's convincingly carried off by Gareth Reeves (last seen as Ryan ; along with Renato Bartolomei - in TV2's thriller The Cult - don't forget you can watch the entire series here!) whose suitably edgy performance means even he's questioning whether he did it or not. And Reeves works well against Marissa (Jinny Lee Story) - their burgeoning friendship provides a little spark and grounds the drama with a sense of humanity.
However, I have to admit that I could see the end coming and the denouement would have worked a little better if perhaps one early scene had been cut from the final mix - unfortunately that detracted from the film overall.

That said I'm Not Harry Jenson clearly marks a talent out in the form of Robertson - he's got the best out of his cast and is bound for great things on the New Zealand film circuit.


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