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TRIBECA REVIEW: 'Blame'

Aaron Kovalchik
Chris Messina as Jeremy and Quinn Shephard as Abigail in "Blame."
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Rusty's Score
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1 Rustys

NEW YORK – Having actors playing roles younger than their actual age can come off phony. As much as a 28-year-old thinks they can tap back into their high school self for a role, it's not as easy as throwing some slang phrases together and being in a clique mentality.

Blame has annoyingly accurate high school characters, which puts you in an academic Delorean back to when you felt like everyone was talking about you during Biology in the worst type of way.

Abigail (Quinn Shephard, also the film’s director and screenwriter) is the introverted girl in drama class that would only be picked on in movie high school because she's too perfect looking to be the object of ridicule in real life. She gets routinely chastised by cheerleader Melissa (Nadia Alexander) and her friends for a damning event that happened a year ago.

In walks a substitute teacher (Chris Messina) in a loosely worn tie and button-up. He becomes smitten with Abigail as she seems to be the only one in class that cares about the current class production of The Crucible—wait! wait! If you already guessed that the entire film is going to be a half-assed allegory of the Salem Witch Trials set in high school, you too could be a screenwriter!

Jealousy inflames Melissa as she does anything to get the teacher and Abigail caught together.

High-school based films usually pave the save tired trails: unpopular girl tries to be popular or a tale of classism envy and revenge. Blame is more of the latter, but the former comes through with Abigail trying to impress her teacher by any means.

Male-gaze scenes are somehow unnecessarily prevalent for a film directed and written by a young woman. Almost 10 minutes of runtime is spent on a scene in a basement with all the main antagonists. Partying, undressing, sex, the usual. Awkward and ineffectual because it adds nothing to the storyline, it does nothing to change your perspective of any of the antagonists and it boggles down a simply structured film that is already 100 minutes long.

Nadia Alexander’s character is excruciatingly irritating. You aren’t aware of why she has this deep propensity of bullying with Abigail being her target until the very end. This leaves all scenes prior of her being a hateful preppy girl questionable. Alexander’s line delivery prompted several chuckles from the audience for the wrong reasons.

None of the characters have any sort of redeeming qualities to connect with on any level. The blame can be placed on Shephard’s amateur storytelling and character writing (this is her first feature film, mind you). If you are going to have a film with a high school girl being bullied the entire time, don’t make it where I really don’t care if she makes it out to see graduation. 

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Kevin Tudor

Born and raised in the mean streets of Yukon, Oklahoma, Kevin is currently majoring in...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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