January 9, 2014

Webisode Review: Tales of Light and Dark - "Truth, Justice, and the American Way"

Tales of Light and Dark is a new web series created by writer/director Glen Baisley. The series is chugging along with the release of episode 3, the first of a three part arc. The series is growing by leaps and bounds, getting more and more ambitious as it has quickly moved from it's initial 10 minute length and moving onto stories that are 20 and 30-minutes in length. This is a good thing as they are quick watches and with multiple parts, you can have bigger stories. If you happen to run into Mr. Baisley out somewhere shooting or at an event like the Hudson Horror Show, be sure to say hi and have a chat about low-budget film making! Just make sure you have the time!

The episode is called “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” and is their most controversial piece thus far. The arc involves religion, death, personal responsibility, and the idea of God. It is a topical piece that definitely resonates, but does not always ring true to me. However, my issues are more with the early presentation of some of the details, not so much the action and the interactions of the characters.

The story arc involves a young priest, Father Peter (Stewart Thomas), who is present at the tragic death of a young woman. It is an event that weighs heavily on the religious man's head. It causes him to question God, himself, and his very worth as a man. It also happens that there was someone else with an ax to grind and a lesson to teach, someone who has a serious issue with Fr. Peter. He is kidnapped and imprisoned. It is during this period of imprisonment where much of the story arc takes place, a game played between the captor and the captive.

"Truth, Justice, and the American Way" is well made, although it does feel a bit talky if you watch it all at once. There is another advantage of the webisode format, you can break it into smaller chunks making it go down a little easier. The performances are solid and that mask is downright freaky.

Now, I don't want to get into too many specifics, but regarding the issues I mentioned earlier, the presentation of the priest did not feel right to me, perhaps it is my religious background, or having worked around priests for a number of years that makes some of the portrayal feel like a stereotype rather than an actual priest. This is not to take anything away from the performance, Stewart Thomas does a good job of bringing genuine feeling, something that is much needed to make it believable, and he manages to carry a lot of weight in this piece.

Overall, this is a solid short, it relies on its performances and they deliver. It is not visually exciting, but that is all right, the story works well once getting past the opening moments. Sure it is low budget and you can tell, but Glen Baisley and his team make it work and they deliver a tight character driven piece that is easy to enjoy and worth supporting.

Part one is out now, part two comes 1/16/14, and the conclusion arrives 1/23/14. Visit the official Tales of Light and Dark page to see this episode as well as the earlier webisodes and other preview clips.

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