Crux (Frank’s Take).

August 28, 2012 | By | Reply More

Writer-director Bryan Boykins delivers a timely message about the fragile state of mankind and the sacrificial stakes facing an individual who has lost his way in the favor of the all-mighty dollar in the thought-provoking spiritual fantasy drama Crux. Penetrating, imaginative and insightful, Crux is a message movie about humanistic priorities and the importance of what wealth really is intrinsically to one’s true soul. Compassion over cash may seem like a simplistic and preachy antidotal revelation. Nevertheless, Boykins is able to flesh out this forethought with a formidable and profound vision drenched in psychological depth and tension.

Boykins’s low-key script is what you would not call exactly flashy or frivolous in conception. Still, it does convey the essentials of its genuine conviction through creative introspection. The lingering thought of one man’s downward spiral into self-fulfillment capitalism at the expense of other people’s misfortune is both regrettable and intriguing. The only minor complaint about Crux is its all-too-brief narrative that begs us wanting more and wondering the fate of our opportunistic protagonist. As a short film, it does its job by cultivating a cliffhanger worthy of curiosity and speculation.

Horror movie Crux

Are you scared yet?

At the heart of Crux’s (a Latin word for “cross”) cautionary storytelling is an enterprising young corporate go-getter Mark Jonas (Jarrett Ricker), an enthusiastic shark convincing a boardroom of advisors at the possibilities of constructing a multi-million dollar building complex in a section of town that will leave lower-income families without housing and other resources. Mark is rather flippant and dismissive about a concern raised regarding the fate of these people and how they would cope with this crafty business venture that would fabulously benefit their pockets.

Clearly, Mark Jonas is slick and polished as his unctuous demeanor in the boardroom demonstrates both his cutthroat tactics that are deceived by his boyish good looks and his selfishness to satisfy his professional portfolio. What matters at the moment to Mark is rather straight-forward-this motivated man is about making profit at any cost. The realization of Mark’s money-making ambition is marred by a brief visitation of a mysterious man in his car’s rear view mirror. Is he hallucinating or is it just the excitement of his deal-making accomplishments?

Mark returns home to tell his good news to his wife Siriah (Heather Brinkley). Siriah should be grateful for her fortune in life as she is blessed with being attractive and financially secure courtesy of her husband’s latest capitalist venture. As Siriah is unpacking her things in their newly spacious home she admits to Mark that she feels there is something missing despite their comfortable lifestyle. Mark cannot believe his ears and points out to Siriah that he gave her what she requested in terms of a big fancy home and beautiful backyard. This explanation still does not convince Siriah to shed her emptiness and indifference to how she truly feels.

Mark’s comeuppance is about to unfold when a strange visitor known as The Profferer (Thomas Bekkers) arrives at his doorstep to warn the self-absorbed money-chaser to change his egotistical ways or pay dearly with his life. Mark recognizes the sullen and mysterious Profferer from earlier in the day. The Profferer offers the bewildered Mark a serious chance at redemption and salvation. He recalls to Mark how his one-time purity and passion had been replaced by a “blackened heart”. Predictably, Mark refuses to heed the Profferer’s useful advice.

Not too long after being dismissive to the head-scratching appearance of the Profferer the tables start to turn for the worse. Mark notices the sudden disappearance of Siriah from the household and frantically races around the premises trying to find out where she is located. Instinctively Mark combs the neighborhood and he frantically continues to question the neighbors about his wife whereabouts and whether they noticed the odd entity that is the Profferer. Periodic flashes of royal blue light and high-pitched sounds invade the neighborhood as everybody decides to scramble based upon the immediate hysteria taking place. Mark, now finally convinced of his need to reform, is frazzled and frustrated while kneeling in the chaotic streets torn with confusion. Is it too late for the tortured soul Mark Jonas to repent?

Crux is indeed quite engaging and stimulating in its solemn message as to what we should actually be worshipping that is real and meaningful. When Boykins devotes a frame to showing burning cash accompanied by the Proverb 11:4 “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” one firmly receives his cinematic sentiments with quiet raging forethought. Boykins is artistically inventive as he gradually strips away at his leading man’s cockiness and reduces him to a ruffled spoiled brat in need of a caustic spanking.

As the savvy and self-saturated Mark Jonas, Ricker delivers an interesting turn a roguish spirit driven by the allure of big bucks. Mark is not necessarily evil-minded or mean-spirited per se as his sole guilt lies in the self-centered investment of his materialistic needs and capitalistic gains. Bekkers is captivating as the blank-faced Profferer whose monotone approach captures the right kind of menacing mystique.

Although intimate and presented as a small-scale film, the conventional adage that money is the root of all evil is adequately realized in this riveting drama devoted to signifying the gospel of man’s wayward existence. Crux is an entertaining reminder that we all have our sordid crosses to bear at some point.

Crux (Boykins Entertainment)

Starring: Jarrett Ricker, Thomas Bekkers, Heather Brinkley

Directed by: Bryan Boykins

MPAA Rating: NR

Genre: Drama/Spiritual Fantasy

Critic’s Rating: *** stars (out of 4 stars)

Tags: ,

Category: Films, Horror, MEDIA

About the Author ()

Frank Ochieng has contributed film reviews to SF Crowsnest off and on since 2003. He has been published in other various movie site venues throughout the years. Ochieng has been part of The Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and had written film reviews for The Boston Banner newspaper (USA) and frequently is a media/entertainment panelist on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM on "The Jordan Rich Show" in Boston, Massachusetts/USA.

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