Kyle Jason, Christina Simkovich, Rob Stone, Julian Hicks, Kevin M. Hayes, Joseph D. Lane, John Delserone, Jordan Weeks, and Chuck D
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
David C. Snyder
"The Quiet Arrangement" Review
When the wife (Christina Simkovich) of attorney Walter Briggs (Kevin M. Hayes) is kidnapped for a $1,000,000 ransom, Briggs decides to take matters into his own hands. Before long, it becomes apparent that this kidnapping isn't quite as simple as it seems and The Quiet Arrangement is going to take a few twists and turns before we find our way to the end of the journey.
Written and directed by David C. Snyder, this low-budget indie crime thriller weaves its way through a quartet of perspectives on this crime and all those directly and indirectly involved in how it unfolds.
The film starts off looking through the lens of Briggs himself before detouring to Mr. Parks (John Delserone), cops Carl Masterson (Julian Hicks) and Jack Simons (Rob Stone) and, finally, we conclude, but not necessarily resolve, our story with Rick Fields (Kyle Jason) with Sharon Briggs herself primarily coming into focus during the film's third act.
Similar, at least in cinematic structure, to Christopher Nolan's Memento, The Quiet Arrangement is an intriguing and effective crime thriller in which each of the four story arcs appear to lead us back to where the film both begins and essentially ends. This is a challenging way to construct a film, especially on a modest budget, but kudos to Snyder for managing the material quite nicely and only on occasion tossing in a scene or situation that feels a touch gratuitous.
The success of a film such as The Quiet Arrangement depends largely upon the ability of the cast to sell the suspense and mystery of the situation, an area in which the film is only partially successful, and the ability of the filmmaker to create an environment where the mystery slowly unfolds in such a way that the audience remains involved without ever actually "solving" it until the filmmaker is ready. It is in this latter area that Snyder is most successful and where The Quiet Arrangement really shines.
As is often the case in these low budget, high drama thrillers, the acting is a bit hit-and-miss with certain moments feeling a bit forced and contrived and, for the most part, there never really being a character whose story we actually care about. This is most distressing with the characters of Mr. Briggs, who feels strangely detached from his wife and with whom it's difficult to sympathize, and Mrs. Briggs, who never really garners our support despite her obvious distress.
This is not to say that The Quiet Arrangement is devoid of solid performances, with Kyle Jason's Rick Fields, the film's primary acting vet, earning the film's major kudos. Watch for a cameo appearance by Chuck D (If you don't know, you won't notice), for whom the film's writer/director works.
As already noted, the primary area where The Quiet Arrangement really serves notice of Snyder's filmmaking talent is in actual production value. Christopher Michael's camera work is inventive and clear, while Stu Beetle edits the film to nice effect. Snyder's script, while occasionally crossing the line into melodrama, is inventive and well structured with a solid build towards what will be an unexpected conclusion for most viewers.
Currently on the indie/arthouse circuit, The Quiet Arrangement was winner of Best Feature at the Akron Film Festival in 2010. For more information on the film, visit The Quiet Arrangement website.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic