WHO’S WATCHING OLIVER REVIEWED
“Who’s Watching Oliver” is very familiar. How many times do we need a tale about an average white guy slowly losing his grip on reality? Living a life of communicating with his mother via laptop, our Oliver makes his way deeper into the real world. He finds a girl he likes, but isn’t sure what to do with those feelings. If cut to an Ira Newborn score, this could almost be a romantic comedy. But, it isn’t.
The film wants you to identify with Oliver as more than yet another Norman Bates descendant. The handy shadow of sexual abuse gets to hang over our titular character, while giving Oliver enough time to lure the audience into his world. Russell Geoffrey Banks shows why he’s been wining Festival Awards for his performance. However, I feel that his hand in scripting the film undercuts the potential power of the performance. Nobody wants to be a bad guy anymore.
Modern villains are made, never truly cut from the evil cloth. Environmental influence of individuals beyond their control are why the local psycho or deviant is prone to murder sex workers. It can never be a person rationalizing their desire for blood. Carnage and lust dance on the same string. You’re either a victim or a perpetrator. The effort to blur that line creates a world that doesn’t play as real as it should for an audience. But, when does fantasy ever desire finality?
There’s even a final sting that hints at this nightmare possibly continuing. Most viewers will want more time with Oliver. He’s less of a killer and more of a problem to solve. While people will fall before him, you could be the person that saves him. I love it when films don’t play it easy. That being said, I also like true villainy.
Your enjoyment of the film will work on a base level. But, suspense and horror also plays on a preferred aesthetic. The film worked for me, but didn’t quite seal the deal. That being said, I wholeheartedly recommend checking it out on July 3rd.
- Not Rated
- 1 hr and 26 minutes
- Gravitas Ventures