Monday, September 30, 2019

Independent Film Reviews: Enthusiastic Sinners ---Written, Produced & Directed By Mark Lewis

If you remember The Bridges of Madison County then it would somewhat explain to you who Enthusiastic Sinners is for.
This is a very adult romance, which is missing from movies these days, I am so appreciative of this work.
Bruce(Christopher Heard) is a police officer who is asked to check out a residence after a call of shots fired is reported. He is also married and has children, which makes the premise of the film somewhat difficult to watch.
Shelby(Maggie Alexander) is a single mom,  a year prior had lost her husband, who's son and some of his friends were hitting bullets with a hammer, which makes sense of the shots fired call. A conversation starts and a connection starts to happen between the two, they soon are in each others arms.
There are some really adult conversations and some just trivial stuff about The Beatles & Van Halen that they chat about through one scene. 
One scene that works well is below, Shelby covers Bruce's eyes and asks him to name all of the sounds that he hears coming from the environment around them. This is something you do not see in film much anymore, just a lot of quiet scenes allowing the actors to work.

When a filmmaker does not have the pressure of subjecting their film to test audiences or producers(Mark produced his own film) who might change their entire idea. This is the wonderful world of independent film.
Mark Lewis(Baystate Blues & Wild Girl Waltz), wonderfully(once again) has written a script for adults, a great amount of talking as well as a lot of unapologetic sex, with full-frontal nudity from both actors. The sex scenes are very soft-porn almost but the beauty of it is-is the believability of the actors.
The thing about the writing in all of Mark Lewis's films is the pure and seemingly effortless performances he gets from each of his actors.
Christopher Heard & Maggie Alexander are both phenomenal here, in which the story relies only on their performances, they have an amazing chemistry together-almost like they could be very close friends.
I really appreciate the work that the actors have put into this film, the honest portrayals, and development of the characters would look great on paper, but you need good actors to pull it off and they do a great job.
Also the tight yet almost too close for comfort shots of their faces really helps keep the story going and the good cutting of the edits as well.
I had asked Mark about some aspects of the film.

How much work did you have to do to get both the actors to be so free with their nakedness?

In terms of the nudity, it was a matter of a LOT of conversation before the shoot started about what they were and were not willing to do. 

Then I wrote out a full shot list for every sex scene that would tell them exactly where the camera was going to be so there wouldn’t be any unpleasant surprises for any of us. 

Then, in actual shooting of the scenes, we used “crotch patches” (for lack of a more technical term) so that at no time there was any actual genital to genital or mouth to genital contact.
The film does not end with a finale that would please many people, I don't think but for me it was refreshing to not have a finish that makes it all crystal clear or have all the answers, as this is a slice of life film and I am certainly glad I got to see this film. It is easily one of the best film I have seen this year & it only had two performers for the entire film.
Hats off to Christopher Heard & Maggie Alexander, & of course none of it would be possible without Mark Lewis, writing, producing & Directing the film.
Thank you for reading this
Anthony Nadeau

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