Screentology

Review: Cut and Chop (2020)

‘Cut and Chop’ is the story of Tom, an aspiring actor who takes method acting way too seriously.

Directed by: Drew Hale.

Starring: Drew Hale, Kari Alison Hodge, Shane Woodson, Varda Appleton, Ron Jeremy, Art Roberts, Sevan Aliksanian, Anya Bay, Aleksandr Rykov, Tony Olayinka, Mike Allen, Arnella Barbara, Kim Nguyen, Conor Daniel Soules, Robyn Parks.

Country: United States.

Genre: Horror.

Running time: 90 minutes.

As a critic I fight with myself everyday when trying to stay truthful to my convictions while staying in an objective posture. It’s harder than some people realize and frequently we become targets of those who imply a movie is good only because it’s supposed to be, or because people worked really hard on it.

I understand a movie like Cut and Chop. I understand the purpose of it, and I’m willing to talk about it if anyone can give a single justification or reason regarding the events in it. With today’s industry having a wide spectrum, we are used to people making statements and not following the rules of logic. We accept almost everything that comes without reason if, at the end, it will serve a purpose not foreseen. And Cut and Chop proposes something it does not develop. The final reveal is an expected step of the story. But then, credits roll. And that’s it. Drew Hale‘s character study of madness is presented under his own pretenses and that’s the way it must be accepted.

Cut and Chop is the story of Tom, an “actor” whose latest probable production requires him to do some research. At least that’s what we think. The movie begins when the descent is almost halfway. His role is that of a butcher, and during an introductory scene we know Tom’s fascination with meat has taken him too far. During sex, he takes a small bite out of his girlfriend’s breast. He starts behaving erratically in a dinner scene when he consumes alcohol. And he has disturbing nightmares of an audition gone wrong. Through these events and more, we are introduced to a potential maniac born out of a decision to go “method acting”. At least that’s what’s implied in a movie that insists too much on the subtleties but never tries to explain anything about characters, and why they are part of this.

Hale writes, directs, and stars in a movie made with all the intentions of being an statement or opinion on something we are truly familiar with. How far would you go to conceive and get a role? But that’s something you can supposed if only you come to terms with the basic information the movie delivers.

Cut and Chop is abundant with Hale’s treatment of details. He’s a pretty good actor who could do better at justifying everything happening on the screen. We understand his character’s fascination with classical music, movie roles, but not with the violence he ensues. Why does the third act portray that? It’s not the only possibility for resolution of conflict. Is it the easiest one? Or the goriest? Too many questions, and no answers whatsoever.

As I confirmed before, I fight with myself upon seeing these movies. My love for indie films has grown exponentially, and I digest these films every chance I get. But that does not mean I can oversee the basic aspects of storytelling even in extreme genres. I applaud Hale’s intent, but I feel there was more that had to be told to create that engagement. When the villain is actually a main character, there are some changes you need to consider. These are not traditional stories, but they should include the basics.

Rating:

A trailer

With information from IMDB, YouTube.

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