‘Watch out my boy, your eyes are still closed’. Our first crucial breakthrough in our chosen passion. The first handsome man or beautiful woman we truly fall for. The human condition swells with unbridled enthusiasm and intent, with every artistic flourish or gesture well intentioned for a loved one or one’s seemingly adoring mass fan-base.
Yet as time passes, many often become so consumed by their own head space. The well-worn ideals and benefits of family and marriage, clouded by the borderline obsessive thoughts of our minds that manifest and poison all that were once adored. Naive to believe that for all on the outside looking in, their lives are perceived to be this perfect painting and the epitome of happiness.
Slowly unraveling, would you dare invite a friend or admirer to become immersed in what makes your own tormented psyche tick?
Originally created by Swedish playwright August Strindberg back in 1888, along with the stylish monochrome aesthetic that saturates the screen. Both birthed from a bygone era, director Ben Cura’s ‘Creditors’ is a devilish and delicious dissection of the unorthodox lengths we go to, as we masterfully manufacture emotion to manipulate, push another’s emotional buttons in order to achieve a morally questionable goal.
Madrid, Spain serving as the sophisticated backdrop, the pitch-black premise is constricted to a compelling trio. The crutches of Cura’s suffering protagonist Freddie Lynch serve as a visual metaphor for his current stance on life. Hobbled by doubts over the (lack of?) faithfulness shown by his well-to-do, eager to be admired wife Chloe Fleury (Andrea Deck). Crippled by the expectation of retaining the same level of enthusiasm and craft already poured into his highly-praised works.
His tortured demeanour is soon given an unlikely, thorough examination by a tough-talking fan by the name of Grant Pierce (Christian McKay). Almost disgusted by the frightening fragility of the artist, Grant’s determination to help Freddie make sense of his muddled life prompts an intense relationship built on brutal honesty.
Playful remarks referencing the characters as little brother or big sister establishing the landslide in power. Admissions of not being able to live without something to believe in. Creditors serves as a sharp, stunning snapshot of the fragility of the male ego, juxtaposing Freddie’s emasculated and panic-stricken figure with Grant’s purposeful yet peculiar dominance, brimming with almost misogynistic bile as he bemoans the hypnotic nature of a woman (You expect wit to come out of that?).
The initial intended seclusion and comfort of its setting is impeccably skewered and realised by director/star Cura, gradually feeding into the sinister, slow-burner tone along with the immersive, minimalist score. From the exquisitely steady aerial shots to the jarring fast-motion captures of Madrid, to the beautifully observed silence that fills the revealing flashbacks, the film’s conversion to screen thrillingly avoids the stilted, laboured approach that so often befalls such works.
Reveling in the femme fatale tendencies of her character as she embraces the classic film noir archetype, Andrea Deck’s Chloe exudes an explosive elegance whom thrives on independence and attention. Ultimately adding a compelling dimension to the passionate prose that leaves the mouths of Cura and McKay respectively. Whilst both provide distinct full-bodied performances individually, together they are terrific in conveying the theatrics of its source.
The heightened melodrama of its brilliantly staged finale may be of acquired taste. Yet for a directorial debut, Creditors is an incisive and accomplished piece of filmmaking that defies such a tag, possessing a rich, powerful psychology that instills an unnerving modern-day relevance to age-old material.
Official Site: http://creditorsfilm.com/
Creditors graces the Anchorage International Film Festival next on Thursday 10th December.