Online trolls, xenophobia, and misinformation, Philip Barantini‘s ACCUSED at Overlook Film Festival could not be more relevant and terrifying. Thanks to the internet, Harri finds himself wrongly identified as a terrorist. After two men track him down, Harri must fight for his life and reputation. This intense thriller is a bone-chilling must-see.
Chaneil Kular plays Harri with palpable anxiety and exceptional nuance. He carries the entire plot like a star. The script gives Kular less dialogue than an average feature, and because of that, his performance relies on meticulous physicality and facial expressions. Kular’s chemistry with co-star Flynn, Harri’s dog, is glorious.
The film raises global questions about privacy, citizen detectives, and hateful rhetoric. We live our lives online these days. It is easy to find out where someone works, thanks to Linkedin. You can find their home address if they own property. That information is in the public record. But we provide all that with photos and comments we leave on social media, even tagging our location in real-time. We make ourselves targets every day. It also speaks to police response. The film skillfully addresses the lack of urgency we’ve all seen displayed in numerous documentaries and news stories.
ACCUSED simultaneously becomes an invasion thriller. The cinematography is sharp, taking full advantage of blue light from laptops and smartphone screens and moonlight peering through sheer curtains as Harri moves silently about his parents’ estate home. The sparse score works to intensify the plot. We fear the silence as much as Harri. The use of technology becomes a double-edged sword in the film. Harri utilizes security cameras and blue tooth to evade the men in his house.
Screenwriters Barnaby Boulton and James Cummings have given audiences a masterfully written film that transcends genre. Packed with twists and turns and a mesmerizing performance from Chaneil Kular, it is a heart-pounding viewing experience. It is a wow.
Director: Philip Barantini
Writers: Barnaby Boulton, James Cummings
Starring: Chaneil Kular, Lauryn Ajufo
Producers: Edward Caffrey, Samantha Beddoe, Rupert Preston, Sara Sehdev
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Synopsis: Alone at a remote country house, a young man (Chaneil Kular, Sex Education) watches helplessly as a social media frenzy wrongly identifies him as a wanted terrorist. When online threats lead to an IRL home invasion, he must fight for his life in this tense thriller of virtual witch-hunts and false accusations.
Overlook 2023 Film Festival Screening Info:
– Friday, March 31st at 7:45 PM @ Canal Place Theater 2
– Sunday, April 2nd at 2:30 PM @ Canal Place Theater 9