KING JAMES (2019)

Revelation 21: And God wiped away the tears from his eyes, so the new Messiah could see out to the new Jerusalem.” -Pilot Abilene

KING JAMES is a no-budget exercise in violent storytelling which attempts to survey its characters’ motivations without the hindering weight of a moral compass in this strange, wayfaring venture of murder, vengeance and maddening obsession.

Superficially KING JAMES sets itself up like a traditional injustice story arch followed by a mandatory third act of quasi-redemption except within the secrets kept by the seedy characters there awaits a disorienting tonal shift that sneaks upon the last moments.

KING JAMES spins a restless tale about a man loosing his life in a street deal gone wrong. After witnessing the slaying, his partner, a man wrapped in self-harm and an obvious ptsd-ridden pain that lusts for then seeks revenge against the kingpin he feels is responsible for the unjustly slaying, a towering hulk called King James and the minions that serve as anchors to the fallouts of his will, bidding and dirty work. A blame is than locked into an unhealthy compulsivity felt by our flawed protagonist, acted upon almost like an addiction to a controlled substance, placing himself directly into the flames of a hellish nightmare as he tries to rid himself of the inner guilt felt by the loss by confronting the murderous gentlemen where his personal path towards a suffering fate awaits.

The last images found in KING JAMES echo a hazy discomfort that turbulently segues into the shrouded revelations found at the ending, creating a thought-provoking anticlimax.

Pete Girard, playing a one-noted and tough-as-nails mobster, shines in KING JAMES. Girard acts out his character in a Vaudevillian manner and his memorable performance is powerful, honest and laugh-out-loud hilarious in certain scenes that address the movie’s comedic underbelly crawling with gasping giggles of enjoyment.

The actors played their respective roles well, with the knowledge that on shoestring budgets more focus is placed on the enjoyment of a performance rather than the nailing of every emotional key or line of dialogue better read on paper then to be delivered onscreen by semi-professionals, but these little blemishes only add to the overall charm of the project by WE MASSACRE PRODUCTIONS with the tight-knit and smiling faces that make this initial rolecall a delight to be welcomed by fans of indie cinema.

The ultimate pleasure in seeking out low-to-no-money independent efforts is to gander at what these moviemakers and artists can actually achieve with their talents and aided by their personal passions (much as THE EVIL DEAD showcased the talents of a man who one day would and could helm a Hollywood blockbuster) and KING JAMES, written and directed by co-creators Steve Balewicz and M.C. Nowell, has a few entertaining glimpses into what WE MASSACRE PRODUCTIONS‘ talents may yield.


Posted by Ryan Logsdon

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