Assumption of Risk

Every once in a while I get an opportunity to review something that isn’t out for public consumption just yet, I had a chance to check out an online screener of Assumption of Risk and thought I’d share my thoughts on this upcoming thriller…

Put together by independent Philly filmmaker Mark Kochanowicz, the film was made for a modest budget (compared to Hollywood’s main stream standards) but doesn’t look that way. Professionally shot, this thriller is just further proof that independent film is alive and well and doesn’t have to have a major studio behind it to produce quality work.

The storyline centers around some unsavory practices behind some major health organizations whose clients strangely die off just in time for the companies not to have to pay out any benefits. One employee of these companies smells something foul and starts to initiate his own investigation into their practices. The further he digs, the more dangerous his world becomes as he unlocks the truth behind these greedy companies and their unethical methods.

Overall, the writing is well crafted. There are some points here and there where the story is a little hard to follow but it’s not difficult to get back on track. The cinematography is well done although I thought there could’ve been a bit more imagination during some of the scenes. The editing has the same stigma unfortunately as it’s a little slow paced for a thriller. There are times when the dialog hangs on a 2 or 3 shot instead of the use of closeups which could’ve helped the pacing as well as showing more emotional expression and depth. There are also a couple technical bugs as I spotted some jump cuts and some moments where the lead looked into the camera…

Speaking of the actors – most of them turn in admirable performances. Brian Anthony Wilson is particularly good as the menacing muscle for the company he works for; it’s nice to see Frankie Faison lending his skills to the film as well. Patricia Mizen is pleasant whenever on screen and delivers her lines convincingly. The weak spot for me was the lead Dan McGlaughlin. Unfortunately he doesn’t put in a very passionate or emotional performance even though his career and his life hang in the balance at times throughout the film. He plays his character in a very one-dimensional way that isn’t all that exciting to watch.

My recommendation – see the film and support independent filmmakers. If you enjoy intelligent thrillers, Assumption of Risk is worth a viewing, keep an eye out for it coming soon!

reviewed by Sean McKnight