Saturday, July 22, 2017

Now on Netflix: Take Me (2017)

Take Me (2017) - Directed by Pat Healy; Written by Mike Makowsky; Starring Pat Healy, Taylor Schilling, Jim O'Heir, Brooke Dillman, Alycia Delmore.

By Kenny Howell

Pat Healy has become a really small independent film master because he understands what it can be despite its limitations.

He has starred in numerous, great uber cheap independent films like Cheap Thrills and Compliance, both of which were very effective on tiny budgets and not many locations. They relied on the actors and clever writing to elevate it.

Take Me, his feature film directorial debut, fits in very nicely with those films, maximizing it's small scale by being original, and getting the most of the actors, in this one Healy himself along with the always great Taylor Schilling from  Orange is the New Black.

In Take Me, Healy plays Ray. When we first meet him, he is trying to get a loan for his business, but is getting some resistance. The reason being that he runs a kidnapping business. However, it is nothing nefarious, people pay him to kidnap them for a variety of reasons, but all within the umbrella of a self help. We are introduced to his business through a man trying to get control of his diet. Ray kidnaps him then punishes him for breaking his diet by shoving burgers in his face and shaming him.

It sounds a bit much, but these businesses do actually exist. That doesn't mean that his family respects him for it. His sister belittles him for his dream of running this thing, thinking it will never really get him the money he needs. However, he receives a call one night from a woman who says she'll give him a large amount of cash if he is willing to bend his rules a bit. The woman, a high powered lawyer named Anna St. Blair, played by Schilling, wants Ray to give her a true kidnapping experience, complete with some physical violence to make it all the more real. Ray is hesitant because that is against his rules, but he can't turn down the money.

Ray goes through with the kidnapping, but there is a cloud of uncertainty hanging over Anna. It starts to seem like maybe she wasn't the one that called Ray for the service, and that feeling holds until the film's conclusion of what exactly is happening. It keeps you off balance the entire time in a very good way and Healy and Schilling have fun playing with it.

Not every independent film has to shoot for awards, the one that breaks through and gets nominated for multiple Oscars along side the big prestige films. There is a definitely a place for the smaller, fun films that almost have a B-level quality though with a slicker production and better actors. That is what Take Me is, and Healy knows just how to do that so well.

Take Me is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***

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