VOD Releases: The Intervention (2016) - Reviewed

cobie smulders
Now on VOD
Now available on VOD is the darkly comedic and touching drama The Intervention, a modern version of The Big Chill that features a unique group of individuals that are all struggling with issues personally and as couples. The story involves four couples and long time friends who take a weekend trip, with the purpose of the trip being to have an intervention on a couple that they think should get divorced.

The story, characters, and dialogue are all well crafted from first time screenwriter, feature length direct, and co-star Clea DuVall (The Faculty). The characters are all interesting and well fleshed out. The dialogue and the characters all seem realistic to the situation, they come off as appearing like real couples with real problems. Without spoiling any of the plot points, they tackle various themes that would be common amongst couples and they all learn something about themselves in the end. It could be argued that this narrative has been done before and is rather formulaic, but I think that there’s in here that makes this story and its characters rather distinctive.

The cast is outstanding, with each actor playing their respective perfectly. Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) and Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men) particularly stood out and gave brilliant portrayals of their respective characters, both of whom have their own set of difficult situations that they are dealing with. The ensemble group worked well together, delivering a nice blend of comedic moments as well as the needed dramatic sequences. Besides Smulder and Lynskey, it also includes Jason Ritter (Freddy vs. Jason), Natasha Lyone (American Pie), Clea DuVall, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation), and Alia Shawkat (Green Room).

The camera work was well done for the first time director, with nice establishing shots and good placement. One thing that was noticeable was a play with vertical lines. There were shots throughout the movie that focused on this, such as lengthy roads, open doors, and long hallways. The score was decent and it was provided by Sara Quin, a member of the Canadian pop band Tegan and Sara.

clea duvall, melanie lynskey
I used to work with Charlie Sheen.

This is obviously not going to appeal to everyone, hence its release straight to VOD. However, there is enough going on here to entertain and move fans of the so called dramedy subgenre. It never gets to heavy that it ends up being a completely depressing picture. With strong performances from the ensemble cast and a heartfelt and sometimes comical story, this is well worth giving a chance.

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-Raul Vantassle