A psychopath, amongst other things, is someone who does not feel. Meaning emotions like guilt, fear or empathy. Think about that for a while. You will come to the conclusion, as most do, that it is really scary. Our emotions are what makes us human. As such, we kinda view psychopaths as not really human.
Spence (Andrew Jenkins – starred in episodes of Once Upon a Time and The Killing) is a psychopath. Or we learn this rather soon into the film. He has lived his adult life, or so we are led to believe, scamming women. Rich, single women. In a short time he gets rather involved with them and moves into wherever they live. They don’t get to seem to know much about him. For good reason. What would be revealed is disturbing.
After leaving his latest victim (Johannah Newmarch – appeared in episodes of Supernatural and Stargate SG-1) with a painting and her luxury car, he moves quite quickly onto his next target. Before he does this he goes to a club and takes a drug which has strange side effects on him. Side effects which continue to come out long afterwards and especially when he is stressed.
Azaria (Melissa Roxburgh – Star Trek Beyond, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules) is going through some stuff in her personal life. She has a brother, Jory (Charlie Kerr – appeared in episodes of Almost Human and Motive), who is mentally unwell and a father (Michael Kopsa – Fantastic Four, Love Happens) who is a hard man, to say the least. Spence and Azaria get involved in a relationship very quickly. We are thinking he is probably into her because of the wealth of her family. Then a plot is hatched to get the kids the father’s money by murdering him. This stress brings on the side effects and things start going sideways…for everyone.
Lost Solace is made up of both the sci fi and thriller film genres. Though there is also a heavy reliance upon character and their motivations/development. Though director Chris Scheuerman (Hope for the Broken Contender, The Guerilla Picture Show) seems to have forgotten this or purposely overlooks it. Maybe it is because of his lack of a clear vision or the way that Andrew Jenkins presents Spence, but the end result was that I was not invested in the film’s lead character. Or really anything he was involved in or going through. I was indifferent (like a psychopath!), which signals the death toll for a film.
Andrew Jenkins as Spence gives us a man who is rather blank. Yes, it is a character with precious few emotions, but that is not what he would be presenting to the world to get away with the cons he manages to. Spence would appear “normal” to everyone and it would only be inside where he would be emotionally dead. As a result of his choice on how to present the character you really do not believe the relationships Spence has with women. Does not feel authentic at all. Spence is set up to be an anti-hero, but you never really connect with him or even like him, so that is gone.
Jenkins’ choices really stand out when he is playing off Charlie Kerr, who has managed to construct a fleshed out character who is also mentally unstable. Jory seems alive and real as opposed to Spence. As flat as the scenes between Spence and Azaria are; the opposite is true between sister and brother. These two actors have more chemistry than the romantic couple.
What is superior about the film is the cinematography. The way this Canadian film looks is great. Thomas Billingsley (Bruised, The House) is to be applauded for this.
As far as the story goes, even though it attempts to be cutting edge and unique, things are rather predictable. Especially in the beginning. The ending is a little better. Though by that point as a viewer you have pretty much given up. The tension or thrill is gone.