Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 26th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: USA, September 22, 2012 (Arizona Underground Film Festival)
Director: Michael Melamedoff
Writer: Michael Edison Hayden
Cast: Richard Short, Pepper Binkley, Ella Rae Peck, Mike Doyle, Lauren Hodges, Daniel London, Laverne Cox
DVD released: April 23rd, 2013
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
DVD Release: BrinkVision
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Synopsis: A documentary filmmaker throws a New Year’s Eve party for his closest friends. Unknown to them he has invited them over to be part of his latest project. This involves getting them to reveal their darkest secrets and deepest desires.
We live in a world in which decadent behavior is celebrated and there is no news unless something tragic has occurred. Good behavior and uplifting stories far too often go unnoticed. Even when it comes to the world of entertainment novices are thrust into the spotlight despite the fact that they have marginal or no talent. Nowhere is this more evident than in reality television.
So how do these things tie in with the story that unfolds in The Exhibitionists? The cast of characters is primarily made up of everyday men and women whose ordinary lives have repressed their innermost desires. When the chance finally arrives for each of them to shine in the spotlight every one leaps into the deep end of the pool without hesitation.
The trigger for such reckless behavior comes from a loaded gun in the hands of a washed up pop star named Blithe Stargazer (imagine a cross between Madonna and Lady Gaga). Her actions provide the catalyst to produce the desired reactions from these unwilling stars of a reality based documentary. Unfortunately for our filmmaker things are not what they seem and he soon learns that actions have consequences.
Structurally the film does a superb job setting up the characters and their motivations. Once all the main players are established, pacing is never an issue. Visually the film takes full advantage of its primary location, an apartment where everyone has gathered for a New Years Eve party. This is not a film that relies on static shots and the cinematography is always inventive and stylish. Editing and musical choices are often flawlessly merged with juxtaposition of imagery.
Without a doubt the most surprising area of this production is just how great the performances of the entire cast are, especially Richard Short in the role of Walter Todd. Another performance of note is Laverne Cox as Blithe Stargazer. It should not go without saying that scenes in which these two actors and their characters interact are easily the moments that resonate the most.
Perversion and tragedy have served as the foundation of many works of art throughout the annals of history. These familiar themes are given a modern spin that in the end does not lessen their potency.
BrinkVision presents The Exhibitionists in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves this film’s intended aspect ratio. This is a superb looking transfer that faithfully retains the look of the film. Details look crisp, black levels look very good and there are no problems with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English. The audio mix is in great shape as the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented, the film’s score sounds appropriately robust when it needs too and everything sounds balanced throughout.
Extras include a trailer for the film (1 minute 44 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a behind the scenes slideshow with music from the film playing in the background, a link that gives you access to download the films soundtrack, two brief segments, the first one titled ‘Walter’s Video Pitch’ (1 minute 52 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and the second titled ‘Who are the Exhibitionists’ (5 minutes 6 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) – this segment via clips from the films give a condensed look into all the characters which make up this film and a interview with director Michael Melamedoff and actor Richard Short (3 minutes 12 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), who discuss the origins of the film, Michael Melamedoff recalls his initial reaction after reading the screenplay for the first time, Richard Short talks about his portrayal of Walter Todd and the limitations of this film’s budget. The main extra that comes with this release is an audio commentary with Michael Melamedoff, who discusses how the internet has changed the way people access porn, the origins of the screenplay which began as a stage play, the cast, how the film was shot in just 10 1/2 days, the films score & opening credit design, the film’s visual look, character motivations are also explored and so much more. This is a exceptional audio commentary track that not only gives a thorough look into the every area of this production, it is also a must listen for anyone who is serious about making independent cinema. Overall The Exhibitionists get a solid DVD release from BrinkVision, highly recommended.