30 January 2005 | mikewelch7
Introducing the "Docu-Drama"
I had the opportunity to see "This Revolution" at the 2005 Sundance Festival. This film is the work of director Stephen Marshall, known for his innovative short films, music videos (including the Eminem video "Mosh"), and documentaries. "This Revolution" represents Stephen's first foray into a full length dramatic production.
I had a great experience seeing this film. I was very surprised while, buying popcorn, I looked up to see Roger Ebert standing next to me. Also attending the festival, Roger took in "This Revolution" along with other features.
The film begins rather awkwardly, perhaps reflective of the very tight filming which took place (Stephen Marshall rushed production to hit the deadline for entry into Sundance). However, as the narrative unfolds, the film begins to come together quite nicely.
"This Revolution" explores the interactions of a network broadcaster, Jake Cassavetes, as he collects interviews and footage of the 2004 RNC convention in NYC. Jake's relationships with two women, one a producer at his network, the other Tina Santiago (well played by Rosario Dawson), the widow of a slain Iraqi occupation soldier.
As the narrative unwinds, we learn that Jake's network is relaying the footage he collects to the Department of Homeland Security, which is building profiles on each of the "enemy combatants" involved in the protests.
Stephen Marshall succeeds in crafting a highly compelling film with "This Revolution." He combines the best of his work as a documentary and short film director, including his signature "scratch" technique. The scenes between the leads, Dawson and Nathan Crooker, are effective, and relay excellent chemistry.
While the production contains several flaws, these can be excused as the work of a first time director. The overall end production is very powerful, and memorable. It is worth seeing if only for the footage of the RNC protest, suppressed in our mainstream media. Watch for the cameos by Marshall, including the scene where he is arrested.