Review: ‘IN ACTION’ is indie ingenuity at its finest.

IN ACTION

Sean and Eric, two aspiring screenwriters with a contentious friendship, are mistaken for terrorists when their email correspondence containing ideas and “research” for an action movie script leads the government to believe they’re plotting a real terrorist threat. They’re kidnapped by the NSA and uncover a shocking conspiracy; rogue agents want to use the screenplay’s plot for an actual attack and frame the two. Trapped and tortured in an underground lair, Sean and Eric must fight to escape, while coming to terms with their checkered past, to save their families and the fate of the free world.

Action movie tropes soon follow, but there’s a twist. IN ACTION only features two actors, was shot in two locations on a purposefully micro-budget, and uses a mix of live-action, animation, hand-drawn sketches, toys (yup…we said toys) for a comedic spin on the action genre. All told through a modern lens while acknowledging its fond nostalgia for the genre’s 80s & 90s-era roots.

Low-budget creative genius. All hail Sean Kenealy and Eric Silvera, writers, directors, producers, and stars of IN ACTION. The dialogue is quippy and the chemistry is electric. The look of the film is truly impressive. Anything too elaborate to shoot is filled with super fun animation by Richard Walsh, close-ups, great sound effects, and sometimes just rudimentary home-movie style silliness. The overall setup of a sit-down interview is a fantastic premise. What essentially becomes a mixed media project forces you to not only pay attention but keep you completely engaged. Its sharp back and forth between visuals and over-the-top new dad/bro vibe is insane. Bravo to editor Billy Nawrocki. I cannot begin to imagine how long this film took to piece together. While this will hit harder with viewers of a certain age and stage for sure, it will undoubtedly tickle any film fan. The references on Eric and Sean’s t-shirts tell you everything you need to know about their baseline inspiration. These guys have no shame. Which, if we’re being honest, makes for great performances. The continuous gag about using foul language is laugh-out-loud funny. It’s not all dick jokes and movie clichés, we also get a nice takedown of toxic masculinity within the South Park-esque perverseness. It’s their commitment to every single moment of In Action that makes it relentlessly fun. Don’t get comfortable because 26 minutes in the script gets flipped. Can you imagine what this group of creatives could do with a large budget? As for In Action, it’s meta mayhem, movie magic. This is a labor of love made by honest-to-goodness fans. It’s an ode to indie filmmaking. Oh, makes sure you stay for the credits for some insider information. It’s worth it.

Gravitas Ventures will release IN ACTION on digital platforms including iTunes, Google Play, Fandango Now, and all major cable/satellite platforms on May 11.

IN ACTION was written, directed, and stars Eric Silvera and Sean Kenealy.

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.