Written and directed by Carmelo Viviani, one man is after answers but the other has none to give, after recently returning home from abroad, Mr. Wesler (Daniel Newton) is taken and bound in a dark dilapidated room where an unknown voice seeks information. Unfortunately for the both of them, interrogations are rarely that simple.
The world has slowly started to let go of the idea that you shouldn’t get into a stranger’s car, with companies like Uber and Lyft proving just that for the masses but you might think twice after you witness Mr. Wesler get in the car, only to be kidnapped. Events then switch to a darkened, industrial looking garage, a single light and Wesler tied to a chair as the ominous voice from behind him questions the security protocols of his workplace. The location is well chosen, it gives off that sense of danger and isolation, as well as a touch of violence with the hanging tools.
There’s quite quickly an awkwardness to it which feeds into the story they’re telling, there was even potential for them to lean even further into it but it stays fairly calm and doesn’t stray into more cringeworthy territory. The initial terror that Newton as Wesler understandably feels works in the writing sense but being a newcomer actor, he isn’t as convincing as it could be but it’s enough to get the point across. However, writer and director Viviani does a great job as The Interrogator, his character plays with a mix of naivety, comedy, threat and being starved for approval, the final moments are especially well played out.
The writing has a well done plot, it’s short and relatively simple but satisfying, particularly ending on the strongest note but being a comedy for the most part, the timing is missing the mark slightly. There’s a little too much of a delay with the responses and it cuts off the effectiveness of its jokes, the writing is funny but it just needed to up the tempo to really hit each line home. The colouring of the film also isn’t ideal, things are overly yellow, granted due to the fluorescent style lighting, but toning it down slightly could have given it a darker, grittier air to further punch up the emphasis of the comedy and the ending.
The Interrogation of Mr. Wesler is a good example of a filmmaker with potential but there’s still progress to be made, the foundation of location, writing and acting are solid with a great concept but a few tweaks could have pushed it further. The comedy works but the timing issues prevent it from working quite as well as it could have, had the back and forth between the two actors been slightly swifter, it would have given a sharper edge to the lines. There are some really good building blocks here and it will be interesting to see what Viviani does next.