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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
There's Something about Mason
by Betty Jo Tucker

There’s something weird about the lead character in Spiral. Played by Joel David Moore, “Masoncomes across as one of the creepiest movie characters since Norman Bates in Psycho. Still, it’s easy to feel sorry for him. He lives alone, works in a dull job as a  telemarketer, seems very shy, and has only one friend -- his boss, who went to high school with him. This lonely man is also a talented artist. He sketches women and paints them, but all in the same poses. After meeting his latest potential model, events spiral out of control and lead to a surprising conclusion involving reality vs. fantasy. Bluesy background music plus a rainy Portland setting enhance the atmospheric feel of this creative thriller and help draw us into Mason’s strange, dark world.

Moore (The Hottie & the Nottie), who also co-directed Spiral, gives a memorable performance in the role of a deeply disturbed and secretive individual. He makes us see how painful it must be for Mason to talk with anyone -- and we don’t know whether to cheer on Amber (Amber Tamblyn), the new co-worker who befriends him or to shout out, “Be careful! Leave Mason alone!”  We get very nervous as the upbeat Amber and Mason grow closer and closer in their relationship. And we wish Berkeley (Zachary Levi), Mason’s boss, would pay more attention to this new woman in his friend’s life.  

Both Tamblyn and Levi offer Moore fine acting support here. Tamblyn (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) projects a wonderful sensitivity as well as an appealing whimsical nature in many scenes, and Levi displays an impressive screen charisma despite his character’s sometimes flippant responses to Mason’s situation. Regarding Levi, I can hardly believe this is the same man who plays the lead role in TV’s Chuck. Obviously, he’s an actor who can handle both drama and comedy equally well. I predict a bright future for him in filmdom.

Co-directed by Adam Green (Hatchet) and Moore from Jeremy Boering’s screenplay, Spiral moves along a little too slowly for me, but the incredible ending is worth the wait. It packs quite a wallop!

Thriller fans should be pleased to learn that this unusual little movie, which is earning recognition at film festivals, will be shown in select theaters beginning February 8 and will be followed by a DVD release on February 19, 2008.    

(Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment and rated “R” for disturbing behavior, violence, some partial nudity and language.)

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