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Camera Obscura [2017]

Camera Obscura [2017] is the feature debut of writer/director Aaron B. Koontz. Christopher Denham plays a veteran war photographer with PTSD who is gifted a camera that shows imminent deaths in its developed photos.

Say Cheese and Die. Based on his short Aperture [2015] the film follows Jack Zeller as he struggles with reality upon the realization that the photos being developed from an antique camera gifted to him by his fiancé Claire (Nadja Bobyleva) show the bodies of individuals who are soon to die in those exact locations. His struggle with PTSD and the strangeness of these particular circumstances throw Jack and the audience into a thrilling psychological mind game causing all to question the legitimacy of what’s presented as well as a struggle to know what’s right and where things are headed when the steaks inevitably rise.

Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture. The performances from all leading and supporting characters are on point, with Christopher Denham giving a pitch-perfect performance that’s never too much and nor too little as Jack struggles with his mental state and debates his next and current actions. There are a few instances of strange lines of dialogue that feel weird or off but overall the script is tightly written and the whole production moves along at a perfect pace. The competency of Jack, despite possibly going through full on psychosis, is refreshing and allows for the pieces to be placed together quickly along with scenes and plot points to come and go efficiently without anything or anyone overstaying their welcome.

Perfect Exposure. Overall the film is shot and lit well, with only one night scene wanting in clarity and some of the indoor home scenes lighting being off at times. Everything shot with natural light looks beautiful, there is never any strange issues with video or audio edits, and the subtle soundtrack is something cool that feels like it belongs in a dystopian sci-fi horror. The makeup and effects used all do the job well and the overall quality of the production is clean and methodical. From start to finish the film is wholly interesting and engaging thanks to a fun premise and strong direction and performances.

 

An interesting premise with competent actors playing competent characters
makes for an entertaining and thrilling psychological quandary.

Camera Obscura [2017]
3.5Overall Score
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