Synopsis: Smart, savvy advertising executive Murray Roberts (Hewlett) is in control of his urban world. But a run-in with a would-be mugger and his gang in a large metropolitan park reveals the limits of his control. Cornered, Murray seeks refuge in a massive tree, leaving him stranded and surrounded by the young thugs and their leader Shark. Murray and Shark embark on a deadly war of wits that ultimately leaves the gang devastated and Murray confronted with the harsh reality of his own life.
Treed Murray 8.0
Strange title isn’t it? Let me explain: Murray decides to cross a park to get to work and runs into a gang. The gang chases him up a tree, where he spend the remainder of the film trying to escape his tormentors.
Sounds kind of lame? It’s not. In fact, I think it’s an under-rated film that should have earned more respect. Oh, sure, it may have nominated for 5 Genie Awards (and won two of those!), but, aside from this, who remembers this film? Take a poll for fun.
Heck, even I almost didn’t know of its existence. The only reason I heard about it was because a colleague of mine one day told me how she had seen the most boring film EVER – and proceeded to tell me what it was about. Instead of convincing me of the validity of her position, she ended up piquing my curiosity and I immediately ordered it from the library.
Within days I had watched it and returned to tell my colleague that I thought it was a rather good film; it’s original and relatively well made for a low-budget piece. In fact, it ended up making my top 13 list that year – and I bought it as soon as I could find it.
So why the difference in opinions? I imagine that the main issue is that my colleague would have liked to see a fast-moving, action-filled film, whereas I can easily be contented with a slow-moving movie if it grips you intensely. Mind you, I can watch 3-hour Russian films in which nothing happens, so what does that say about me?
I’ll grant her one thing: the film certainly isn’t perfect.
For one, it’s not entirely successful in bringing credibility to the turns of events; sometimes you feel like questioning the choices of some of the characters. Having said that, it’s still convincing enough to make for an engaging drama; you can’t help but imagine yourself in that situation and wonder what you’d do.
One of the interesting touches of this film is the fact that neither the protagonist or any of the antagonists are nice people – everyone in this film is a distinct shade of grey. What this means is that not all is what it seems and the balance of power shifts continuously – even while the lead character remains largely in the tree for 90 mins.
Essentially, it’s a complicated game of cat and mouse.
But who has the upper hand here? Well, rent this film and find out! Even if you’re not as impressed as I was, this Canadian production is worth seeing at least once for its overall cleverness and fresh take on the well-worn thriller genre.