Abuse comes in cycles and is often passed from one generation to the next. Thus it is in Chained, which sees a boy with an abusive father hold another man captive. Yes, that’s the whole movie. It’s pretty good, too.
Taylor (Marlon Kazadi) lives with his abusive father, Pete (Adrian Holmes). Despite his stepmother doing everything she can to connect with him, Taylor isn’t happy because how could he be while his dad is emotionally abusing him at every turn. While running away from some bullies at school, he hides in an abandoned warehouse, and there he finds two men: one dead on the ground, and another –Jim (Aleks Paunovic) leashed to the wall by his neck with a length of chain.
Taylor considers his options and then decides to keep Jim right where he is. He sets about bringing Jim food and water, and the two form a bond of sorts as they talk and play games.
Chained feels very much like a play, with much of the runtime confined to these two characters and the warehouse Jim is stuck in. This is not a complaint by any account; movies that feel like plays are right up my alley.
The film has some issues, not the least of which is some of the secondary actors’ performances being not great, and the whole thing feeling exactly like the low budget endeavour it is. Writer & Director Titus Heckel’s script feels unpolished as well. Not bad, just like it could have used some more time.
However, despite all of that, the film is definitely worth seeing just for Kazadi and Paunovic’s scenes together. Kazadi is becoming a young talent you’ll want to take note of (he’s slated to appear in the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife), and Paunovic puts in another excellent character performance as Jim, trapped in more ways than one and clearly conflicted internally.
Chained isn’t going to change the world, but it is one of those films you can watch so that you can say, “I watched Marlon Kazadi before he was famous”, and that alone might make it worthwhile.
Chained will premiere on-demand in Canada on June 15th.
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