There can be little doubt that Chance was a film made from a place of love, but as often happens, love can make us blind to certain realities-- in this case the realities of strong film making. Many of the elements that went into this film, most notably the cinematography, were oftentimes surprisingly good. The one standout scene was the climactic moment, shown only by a reflection in a phone screen. This shot put forward a smart commentary on the dangers of cyberbullying (one of the movie's main themes), and drew into sharp focus the more poignant feeling of vast emotional distances between supposedly close people. Yet despite this (and two strong, standout performances by Matthew Modine and Tanner Buchanan), it's clear that whoever led the direction on this film's writing and overall concept lost sight of the basic tenants of movie making itself.
It is difficult to memorialize someone's life, especially when their death is wrought with confusion and pain. And overall, this movie reads very much like a memorial, an epitaph of disconnected moments and vague accomplishments, lacking the depth that would have otherwise made it a coherent story.
The primary issue is Chance's characterization. As a viewer unfamiliar with Chance as a person, I have no reason to care about him, and the film does not do a good job of endearing him to us. That he is good at baseball is not an excuse for his behavior. (This is not to discredit the performance of the actor who played him, I strongly feel it is a consequence of the writing). As a teenager, he gets away with his friends as they vandalize his neighbors mailboxes with a baseball bat. It's a vicious and disquieting scene, unapologetically amoral, but it is immediately forgotten when another scene takes its place. One may perhaps observe that the symbol of Chance's innocence has now turned to one of violence and male anomie. This is an intelligent use of symbolism by the director, for sure. But stronger than this metaphor of baseball bats is the overtones of privilege. This film is annoyingly, heinously, dripping with privilege. And, unfortunately, it's not self-aware enough to be apologetic for it, and not brave enough to suggest this could have been one source of Chance's difficulties.
Chance is not the only character with issues. He and his girlfriend have no chemistry, for starters, but more importantly, his girlfriend is given almost no characterization at all. Were this film to be remade, I would suggest cutting half an hour of the baseball scenes at the beginning (rather useless, no exposition, "okay we get it, he plays baseball") and instead use this time to broaden the scope of the teenagers involved. His girlfriend, his mom, and his friends all fell very flat, because we, as viewers, knew very little about them. They had no quirks, hobbies, opinions, or ideals to speak of, save for a propensity for smashing mailboxes.
Finally, there are some confusing plotlines about who exactly was behind the bullying. Was it his own self-inflicted, attention-seeking call for help? Or was it actually Trevor. We don't really know in the end. One could argue "oh but it doesn't matter who started it, everyone is a victim here." Except, it does matter, very much, and we never find out. What we know for sure is Chance is a pathological liar, as shown in the phone call scene. He needed help, and there were people around to offer it. But again, as with the mailbox scene, there are no direct consequences to him acting how he does, except the final, dire consequence that he brings upon himself in the end. It's a message that sits uncomfortably with the audience and those familiar with suicidal ideation. A film about suicide does not have to be comfortable, or rewarding, or happy. But a film ostensibly about bullying, morality, and healing, does. Instead, this movie seems to suggest Chance was born a sociopathic brat, and that his death served only to teach those around him a lesson. That Chance was Saved By Jesus in the end cannot absolve the pain and trauma he caused through his actions. A movie that could have been about healing instead turns to one about vindication. This, I feel, is a great loss.
Drama / Family
Drama / Family
Follow the journey of a sensitive jovial country youth baseball star from age 6 to 16, as he struggles to find happiness and success guided by a special relationship with his baseball coach, who ultimately can't protect him from the forces that take his life. This story explores the emotional impact of texting and first love on teenagers, with a look inside their actual communications taken from police statements, text messages and interviews.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 01, 2021 at 01:54 AM