Sex,Drugs and Murder in the First Degree by Anthony Bates

Filming issues that deal with the psychological state of mind of human beings is never a stress-free task, especially that it could easily turn into a “cliché” like work and loose the effect intended, this is definitely not the case with the production at hand since director “Bates” was able to portray such a delicate subject with extreme professionalism and maturity delivering a more than a well crafted piece of film.

One of the main key elements that stood behind the success of this work is the screenplay; the talented writer/director “Bates” was able to deliver a unique style of writing where he joined three mentally related stories each with its own brilliant characteristics and at the same time connected them in a very distinctive manner, this reflects not only a high level of maturity in script writing but also shows that proper research was conduct giving characters the ability to draw the audiences into their sick world allowing them to experience first hand how does it feel to be in such a state. Another key element at play was the distinctive acting talent displayed by all actors; their complex characterization and exceptional performance (especially the Chaplin impersonator) made it all the more interesting to follow them into this mental trip that each one of them went through.

Technically, what strikes us from the very first shot of the film is the choice of black and white done by director “Bates”; this colorless mood (except for a very few touches of red in the alien scene encounter) semantically implies the lifelessness and desperation lived by the characters, as for the framing and types of shots, the clever use of close ups again shows the suffocation felt by the mentally deranged individuals and the instances where the actors are directly addressing the camera breaking this wall between what is real and what is fiction leaves a heavy impact on the viewers who are transported into the intimacy of every moment of the work. Talking about the music, one can not but salute the effort done in the Chaplin scene as it is exceptionally executed and conveys the desired effect needed to enhance the overall mood.

To conclude, although this work deals with mentally unstable individuals (with a twisted end) and is somewhat disturbing,  it is well worth seeing for all the reasons mentioned previously and much more.

N.Khouri Ph.D

Monthly Indie Shorts


About Anthony

Born and raised in Corona California. Ever since I was a kid I acted exactly the movies that I know and love. Did plays for school and I hated it, but what I hated ended up loving it. Started making shorts that all got film at festivals in high school. Graduated from Columbia College Hollywood in 2018, with a bachelors in Directing. Made 20 films and counting.


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