by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)
Everyone has a photo they don’t want others seeing. We’ve all been horrified the morning after as we are reminded of our last night’s misgivings by our dear friends with their phones. But how many of us have been on the other side of it? How many of us have snapped a great pic, by accident or on purpose, that could really do damage to the person in it? That’s the question that Snapshot takes a shot at asking us, trying to put us in that position and ask us “What would you do?”. But more than that, in a time when huge amounts of money can be offered for the smallest hint of a dodgy picture it asks “Are you big enough to do the right thing?”. It’s with those questions in mind that Snapshot tries to weave itself a tale of morality in a world with precious little of it.
Thomas Grady is a freelance photographer who is posed such questions when he finds himself accidentally getting the up-skirt shot of the century as the President’s wife takes a tumble and rolls down the stairs giving Grady the picture that could turn his life around. A picture that could ruin a government and ruin the credibility of the United States.
Political intrigue; moral dilemmas; jaw clenching tension are all on the menu for this high stakes drama that takes a look into the heart of man and searches for his humanity.
Well. No. Not really. These are all things that we SHOULD be getting, but sadly, Snapshot is found lacking at almost every turn as the film takes this wonderfully dark concept and makes a very real attempt to bore its audience to death with bad direction and awful writing instead. What should be a scathing look at the paparazzi and how they treat their often unwitting subjects becomes an abject lesson in how not every low budget independent film can be a winner and sometimes they are just unwatchable guff.
We are introduced to Grady, played by the rockstar looking Zack McGowan (who, I kid you not, instantly made me think “This dude would make an awesome pirate” just before I discovered he was in TV’s Black Sails) as he sneaks into someone’s back garden to take photos of them and their partners in the back bedroom. Hiding behind a fence, he captures the shots he wants and bolts. But before he can get away, he’s confronted, badly beaten by security and sent on his way bruised and bloody. Now here’s the thing, I’m positive this shot is meant to be telling us how Thomas saw the error of his ways and “went straight”, leaving his sordid paparazzi ways behind him as we are informed that we have jumped ahead seven years to where our story takes place. But this plot point, this whole opening five minutes, is never mentioned again. It’s not hinted at or brought up at any point in the next hour and a half. It’s a completely pointless introduction. Our hero is now living an impoverished life as a freelance photographer, struggling with money and needing something to make the ends meet. His golden goose arrives when the First Lady trips over her two left feet, takes a header down some steps and exposes her lady business to the world. Not realising what he’s got, Thomas goes on his merry way and doesn’t stumble across his goldmine until much later when he’s reviewing his pics of the day.
Upon discovering his money shot, Grady’s life is thrown into turmoil as he looks to friends and family for advice. All the while his buddies are trying to screw him over for their own payday; his girlfriend is looking for any way to piss him off and his brother and father are constantly judging him on his life decisions, resenting him for not following the family tradition of becoming a firefighter. If all this wasn’t enough, the rumour of the First Lady’s crotch shot has the President’s fixer uppers in the neighbourhood looking all menacing and what-not.
Where there should be drama, there’s a main actor who looks uncomfortable in the role. Where there should be tension, there’s horribly awkward script-writing and even more awkward delivery of dialogue. Where there should be a real moral dilemma and an opportunity to start a real discussion about privacy and the self-serving nature of the media, there is only one question; why oh why am I watching this film. This film with a cut-price Myles Kennedy in the lead and no actual idea how to inject some life into itself or the people staring at the screen losing the will to live.
Between probably the worst movie President of the United States (with not one stock shot of the White House) with no power or presence on-screen and maybe the worst camera store clerk in the history of retail whose bizarre flirty tone and weird dialogue (“I know what his equipment looks like…”) are laughable at best but at their worst are like nails on a chalkboard; this film may actually have the most depressing supporting cast in the history of films you’re not likely to watch. I hoped, I prayed for an end to the scenes that look like they were filmed on a handycam in a YMCA hall. The echoes, the high-school drama department level of acting (I’ve seen plenty of that, and it looks EXACTLY like some of the stuff I saw in this movie) and this one truly painful scene with the Grady brothers talking to each other and the director gets the insane notion that it will either create tension or make it look like time is progressing, to have each line of dialogue presented with the speaker’s face panning across the screen. And I mean every line, in a three minute conversation. It’s the most horrendous scene I think I’ve ever watched.
The bottom line is that Snapshot it a tone deaf mess of a film. It misses a point that it so desperately needs to make and embarrasses its cast of “doesn’t he look like that guy from…?” actors. It’s quite simply a poor man’s rendition of Nightcrawler with fewer production values than a soft-core Channel 5 porn.
Should you want to see this film for yourself, you can find more information about its release via this link. Check out the trailer below!