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The Independent Critic

Written and Directed by
Jordan Barrett
James Hedley, Lawson Hind, Terrence Betts, Rachel Turner, Eve Murray
Running Time

 "Exodus" Review 
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With each subsequent film, British filmmaker Jordan Barrett just keeps better and better. With Exodus, his latest short, Barrett is showing growing confidence as he tackles a suspenseful thriller with a sure and steady hand and an abundance of patience.

Despite a beginning that feels eerily like the very first film in the Saw series, Barrett quickly makes you forget about that gorefest with this intelligent and involving film involving Jacob (James Hedley), a young man who wakes up in a dark room staring at a bound stranger, Edward (Lawson Hind). Before long, his task is revealed and Jacob is faced with a choice that will push him to the edge of his psychological limits if he is to save the ones he loves.

Exodus benefits greatly from Hedley's non-histrionic yet compelling performance, actually somewhat reminiscent of Cary Elwes's terrific performance in the original Saw. While the temptation is to want a sort of "freak out" performance here, Hedley's more psychologically harrowing take on the character is immensely more satisfying as the film winds itself down. Lawson Hind is equally strong as the man who is as much bound by Jacob's fate as he is to the actual chair, complementing Hedley nicely despite the challenge of being bound to a chair for the entire run of the 15-minute short.

D.P. Scott Coulter's camera work is crisp and clear despite the challenge of filming in a smaller,enclosed area while Jonathan Armandary's original score plays the perfect companion to a film that builds slowly and patiently towards the sort of resolution that is unnerving and ballsy.

Barrett's dialogue writing skills have improved dramatically since Per Mare, Per Terram, the first film of Barrett's reviewed by The Independent Critic. While the choice to have Jacob insist on Edward's waking up given the dilemma seems a bit odd, it also may simply be meant to speak to Jacob's moral dilemma and his need to consciously interact. Minor script quibbles and Saw flashbacks aside, Exodus is a sign of tremendous artistic growth for Barrett and should have tremendous success on the indie and underground film fest circuit.