The Integrity of Joseph Chambers Review
The Integrity of Joseph Chambers (2022) Film Review from the 21st Annual Tribeca Film Festival, a movie written and directed by Robert Machoian and starring Clayne Crawford, Jordana Brewster, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Michael Raymond-James, Colt Crawford, Carl Kennedy and Charline St. Charles.
Director Robert Machoian (The Killing of Two Lovers)’s new film, The Integrity of Joseph Chambers, is quite unique in its ability to provide the audience with an intelligent story line that maintains viewer interest from beginning to end. This complicated but stirring movie offers a fully fleshed out leading performance by its star, Clayne Crawford. Set mostly in the woods, this picture is sure to raise more questions than answers for its audience but it’s the subtle delicacies that Machoian uses to tell his story that makes it such a successful effort.
Crawford stars as Joseph Chambers, a family man who is married to the radiant Tess (Jordana Brewster). They have a couple of kids and seem to be as happy as can be. Chambers decides to get in a pick up truck and borrow a gun from his friend Doug (Carl Kennedy) to go deer hunting with. Tess wouldn’t mind spending more quality time with Joseph before he leaves as she shakes her booty for him as he is about to embark on his journey. Once Joseph leaves, there will be no turning back as his life is about to be altered forever.
When Joseph gets into the woods, he finds himself envisioning himself in a baseball game and becomes free with nature and with himself. When he fires a shot with the rifle, it seems nobody’s around. After all, who would be trespassing? All seems to be OK as Joseph continues to do what he came into the wilderness to do. All his plans change when he finds a man (Michael Raymond-James) in the middle of the woods with a gunshot wound who appears to be dead. Joseph runs and runs and runs some more. He has found himself in a predicament that is certain to have consequences for all involved.
Joseph starts to get very intense and scared. Machoian doesn’t spare the audience long shots of Joseph expressing himself emotionally whether it be through talking to himself or crumbling physically in fear. Joseph gets to shoveling a hole to bury the man’s body in but what happens is rather surprising as we learn the guy isn’t quite dead. As Joseph tries to apologize and console the man, the guy runs away and becomes afraid further complicating an already complex situation.
Some more plot development occurs that enriches the plot and holds the audience’s attention. Machoian’s direction sets the film to play like a thriller. There is genuine suspense to be found throughout. Crawford and Raymond-James have some interesting scenes together that prove this situation that they are in is truly one that cannot be undone. Eventually, a Police Chief (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) appears in the film but not after some horrible occurrences are unveiled.
Clayne Crawford is perfectly cast in the lead role in the movie. There is no scene he is in here that feels like he is overacting in it even though the character expresses some complex emotions throughout the picture. Machoian’s direction is almost always probing and never once feels overdone either. In smaller roles, Kennedy and, especially, Brewster create realistic characters who come to life in such a way that they further illustrate Joseph’s need to go on the initial journey he sets out on which is to go hunting.
Machoian opens the film with a haunting shot of the woods. The trees and the sounds set the stage for what is to come. By film’s end, Machoian greatly succeeds in his ability to hook the viewer into the plot and to be captivated by the material. Every scene leaves one wondering which way Joseph will turn next. In the final scenes, Crawford is absolutely outstanding. Dean Morgan is never one to disappoint and in his brief, but hugely relevant, role, the character actor adds depth to the conclusion of the movie which is admittedly left open to viewer interpretation.
The Integrity of Joseph Chambers is a fine example of a movie that expertly does what it sets out to do. It has shades of the great movie, A Simple Plan, although that 1998 picture was, of course, a masterpiece. The Integrity of Joseph Chambers isn’t as perfect as A Simple Plan but it’s a very successful movie. It could have used more depth in regards to its unsettling climax but it’s not worth nitpicking the small problems with the picture because it’s certain to keep viewers invested throughout. This movie is a powerful portrait of a man who may have been better off playing it safe and staying with his family rather than going out hunting. Crawford is an actor to watch and this film is proof he has what it takes to carry a movie.
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