There's no question that Spears is one of Irish filmmaker Gerard Lough's most ambitious projects to date, a lo-fi action/thriller with multiple story threads and multiple locales keeping us guessing throughout the film's just over two hour running time.
Spears tells a complex story, perhaps a tad too complex, wrapped around three men - Kian (Nigel Brennan), Cormac (Aidan O'Sullivan), and Jeff (Bobby Calloway). All three men are easily described as questionable chaps, however, it's when they get wronged by Hidell (Michael Parle) that Spears really picks up.
Taking place in such locations as London, Donegal, Berlin, and Florence, Spears had a limited run in Irish theaters and is now available for rental on Prime Video. While Spears isn't a particularly original film, it tends to borrow from some of the best and it's the kind of late-night action thriller that one loves to come across on Prime Video.
In the film, Hidell hires Kian to track down a missing woman in Florence. On the flip side, Cormac walks smack dab into the middle of an arms deal going awry. Finally, Jeff loses a fortune to Rachael (Rebecca Rose Flynn). All three men are desperate men desperately trying to bounce back from major losses. Now, they have Hidell as a common enemy.
Lough plops these men down into a gritty, dark environment and it's actually a quite sublime environment for a low-budget indie. While Spears has its share of issues, hit-and-miss acting and production values being most noteworthy, I can't help but marvel a bit at Lough's growth as a filmmaker over the years. Among the key players, Michael Parle's Hidell is the film's true gem. A veteran of working with Lough, Michael Parle clearly understands Lough's vision for the film and sinks right into it.
Lough's script is ambitious, though it could have used a bit of trimming as the occasional laugh really impacts the rhythm and intensity of the film. Lough lenses the film himself and does so quite admirably. Sigrid Anita Haugen's original music for the film is definitely a highlight.
Spears is a solid option for a late night movie on the couch, though I'd dial down the expectations a bit and just enjoy this simple, low-budget indie thriller and the work of an up-and-coming filmmaker who keeps looking for and finding different ways to define himself.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic