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DVD Movie Review: Your Move

By Thom Compton 04.02.2018

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Your Move (UK Rating: 15)

There seems to be an unspoken rule amongst writers and directors throughout the world when it comes to filming the stories of kidnappings. That rule is that it always has to be the wrong person; perhaps the daughter of a diplomat, or the wife and child of a former CIA agent. Regardless, the theme of most kidnapping movies seems to be, "You messed with the wrong family." If that is the same ideal that carries Your Move as it makes it way from frame to frame, it is terribly misguided.

Out on DVD in the UK on 5th February via Thunderbird Releasing, Luke Goss makes his directorial debut with Your Move, the story of a man who, while video chatting with his wife and daughter while they visit family in Mexico, witnesses their abductions. The unhidden face of the maniac behind the kidnapping pops up in front of the camera, and just before ignoring David's (played by Goss - Hellboy II: The Golden Army) pleas not to shut the laptop, mutters, "Your move, David." This almost sounds enticing, like a game is about to begin, or has already. Instead, it's a caution to the viewer after watching the opening. Your move; no one would blame you for turning this off.

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The film is clearly a first effort by a director who cares enough about giving himself centre stage, but not enough to really learn the basics of his new craft. During the opening few minutes, the dialogue is obnoxious and inhuman. The way David and his wife speak doesn't sound like anything a real couple would say, and is delivered in such a way that it doesn't seem like either actor cares about what they are saying. David's daughter delivers her lines with a similar rushed apathy, although as a child it's easier to forgive.

Then the abduction happens, and the camera loses its mind. Quick cuts to David's daughter (who, throughout the film, he only seems to speak of as "his beautiful daughter," as though to reassure himself of her worth to his character), then an unintentionally laughable shot of David covering his face, and then eventually it's over. Viewers occasionally see shots of the bad man covering David's wife's face, but everything is too jumble and splatter shot to really make out. Eventually, it ends; kidnapping complete.

What unfolds after the kidnapping is all slightly better, but still not what might be called 'good.' David calls the police, despite being in a completely different country, to report the abduction. The police arrive and seem to doubt everything David says because it was on webcam. In fact, every member of law enforcement David spends any prolonged time with seems to be completely oblivious to how web cams work; even the detective he spends a good amount of time with throughout the film once he arrives in Mexico.

The remainder of the run time is basically David sabotaging everything the police is doing to help him. He arrives in Mexico and almost immediately enters rogue mode. Despite the detective (played fairly well by Die Hard's Robert Davi) constantly reminding David he needs to let the police do its job, David is dead-set on finding the man who stole his family from him on his own, and exacting vengeance only a father could, or something trite like that.

Besides Davi, Alain Mora (Los Teens), who plays Gabriel, also does a decent job working through his lines. It's hard to tell if the acting in Your Move is bad, or if the directing is just so awful it bleeds into the performances. David's father-in-law seems bored as he delivers his lines, like he has better things to do than star in this. An associate of Gabriel's says his lines with all the enthusiasm of a gym coach reading Twelfth Night to toddlers as punishment. Honestly, it wouldn't be fair to blame Goss entirely for the poor performances here, as it's clearly an issue that must be shared with the cast.


 
Cinematography is clearly not an issue anyone took into consideration, as the camera seems to just loom wherever there was room for it to fit. Editing is equally, if not more, messy. Weird cut-aways and fade-outs feel like the work of a freshman art student who, in all the glee of learning a few tricks in Final Cut Pro, uses those few tricks with such frequency they lose all of their relevance. Even worse, most of the sets look obviously like sets, resulting in a poorly shot film that looks like the tape recording of a bad play.

Wrap all this up with the horrendous final act, and you have a guaranteed bad film. The ending seems designed to give David the catharsis of exacting revenge, without giving anyone else any release. There are no consequences for his awful behaviour, and while his anger and sadness are understandable, he crosses too many lines to just move on. Throughout the film's few, amazingly boring action sequences, he definitely crosses the line into assault. None of that matters, though, as it all ends with the only resolution Goss apparently cared about.  This results in a film so bad that it's easy not to feel badly for it. Hopefully, on his next outing, Goss will make something that feels more like a movie, and less like someone experimenting without the proper understanding of what they are experimenting with.

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Aside from a couple of decent performances, there's really nothing here apart from something that feels like self indulgence and apathy. Goss gives himself enough time on-screen to make David incredibly unlikeable, enough time behind the camera to make the story incredibly unlikeable, and doesn't even manage to make the script sound coherent, let alone make any logical sense. How to summarise Your Move, then? Simple. No one would blame you for turning it off.

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