EVERYTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS.
Main cast: Steve Bishop, Becky Byers
Director: Bryan Enk
This is gonna be a rough one. Now, usually, when I say that it’s because the movie I just watched was a total piece of crap. NOT the case this time. In fact, Bryan Enk’s The Passion of Paul Ross is quite possibly too good for me to tackle.
Ten minutes into the movie I felt like I was watching a forgotten David Lynch gem. And that feeling continued throughout the movie.
The IMDB synopsis reads “An aging artist discovers that his seemingly perfect suburban life is actually a prison conjured by unknown forces.” And to tell you ANY more than that about the plot risks huge spoilers. I can tell you Paul Ross (Steve Bishop, Scarlett Mecca and the Pentagram Girl) is waiting in a bar for a visit from his brother, but instead he meets a girl named Amity (Becky Byers, The Big Bad). I can tell you there’s a famous singer named Natalie Lord (Amy Beth Coup) who meets her end in a diner.
I can tell you a trio of punks keep skulking around outside Paul’s house.
But, seriously, anything else and the movie will be spoiled. And while sometimes minor spoilers are alright, trust me: any spoilers about this movie are going to be HUGE spoilers.
So instead we’ll talk about the movie, but not the story.
Steve Bishop dives deep into the character here, giving us a Paul Ross who exudes waves and waves of artistic adult angst, and not in an annoying way. I connected with his character’s “what the F is going on???” vibe, and at first I thought it was because he’s one of those creative types and, well, I think most of us look at the world that way. But given where the story goes, yeah, Bishop nailed it.
Becky Byers as Amity (from the Latin AMICUS, meaning “friend”, and I wonder if that was on purpose, considering her role in the story…) made me think If Alyson Hannigan and Amy Adams ever combined their DNA, Becky Byers would be the result. And that’s not just physically, this girl’s got aspects of both actresses. In one scene she can be totally relatable and friendly, a typical Amy Adams role. In the next scene she’s giving off this incredible effective “off center” vibe I’ve seen in many a Hannigan role. The kind of girl, you’re not quite sure what’s going on behind her eyes, and you’re afraid to ask because the answer just might be “Oh nothing, just planning your funeral.”
Bryan Enk (The Big Bad, The Moose Head Over the Mantel) is a man with vision, and the directing skill to bring that vision to fruition. Did I understand EVERYTHING in this movie? Nope. But I haven’t understood everything–or much of anything–in any of the David Lynch movies I’ve watched, and I still watched them because Lynch is an excellent filmmaker.
Know what puts Enk just a bit above Lynch in my personal estimation? Enk CAN and DOES make movies that aren’t all as surreal as The Passion of Paul Ross. This movie is just one stop along his path to greatness, and what a stop it is.
Currently hitting the festival circuit, The Passion of Paul Ross is unavailable for purchase, but hopefully it will be soon.
C. Dennis Moore is the author of over 60 published short stories and novellas in the speculative fiction genre. Most recent appearances were in the Dark Highlands 2, What Fears Become, Dead Bait 3 and Dark Highways anthologies. His novels are Revelations, and the Angel Hill stories, The Man in the Window, The Third Floor, The Ghosts of Mertland and The Flip. He is writing another Angel Hill novel called Return to Angel Hill with co-author David Bain.