Entertainment

Criticism | Mass: a powerful drama about the family consequences of a school tragedy

Watched movie during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

Elephant and Shots at Columbine already did it very well, as they walk through the atriums of an American school tragedy, when fragile and complex teens decide to express their anger, pain or social misunderstanding through violence. against their classmates. Tragedies of this nature – unfortunately – are common in America. Their painful and divisive stories, which give rise to long and endless debates on TV shows about the sale and possession of guns, run in circles and are hard to get past the gunshot. But Mass arrives to fill that void, with a powerful fictional drama inspired by the real pain of parents who have witnessed incomprehensible violence destroying their children and families.

Ann Dowd and Reed Birne appear in Fran Kranz’s Mass, an official selection from the Premieres section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Ryan Jackson-Healy.
All photos are copyrighted and may only be used by press for information purposes or for editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by credit to the photographer and / or “courtesy of Sundance Institute”. The unauthorized use, modification, reproduction or sale of logos and / or photos is strictly prohibited.

Seeking to answer the question “what happens after a school tragedy?”, The first feature film directed and scripted by Fran Kranz is cathartic, poetic and deeply realistic. Addressing families who have seen their homes collapse in such a chaotic and unexpected way, the production addresses the pain behind irreparable losses and raises the most latent questions that throb in the minds of parents who have lost their homes. children in youth shootings. Communicating with precision and perfection with different types of audiences, the production is simple in its conception and makes its extremely low budget its trump card. With such a flawless script, having the money to play an exceptional story seems small – although vital to the birth of the project.

Delicate and with deep dialogue and written with passionate simplicity, Mass is a drama that resides in its performances and goes into the hands of its incredible cast, who leaves everything on the stage. Jason Isaacs, Ann Dowd, Martha Plimpton, and Reed Birney are all we need in this film and offer audiences much more than an emotional catharsis, also taking us to a sweet and powerful lesson in the importance of forgiveness and the human vital need to adapt to circumstances – whether they are in your favor or not.

Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton and Breeda Wool appear in Fran Kranz’s Mass, an official selection from the Premieres section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Ryan Jackson-Healy.
All photos are copyrighted and may only be used by press for information purposes or for editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by credit to the photographer and / or “courtesy of Sundance Institute”. The unauthorized use, modification, reproduction or sale of logos and / or photos is strictly prohibited.

With deep and fascinating performances, the feature film is categorical as it focuses on the narratives of its protagonists and spends little time with its sets. Remained inside the atriums of a small isolated church on the side of a road, the production immediately shows that the place is a point of neutrality and contact between its characters. Here, the speed of busy streets and the hustle and bustle of almost deafening city sounds are irrelevant. A piano and a warm, calm atmosphere make up the definition of the perfect setting for a movie that doesn’t want the exterior elements to steal the plot’s breath or distract the audience. Surgical in all his conception, Kranz proves that – although new as a filmmaker – he is skillful and astute, able to construct an unforgettable and timeless story.

Requiring an emotional openness from the audience to surrender to the stories of its protagonists, the drama reciprocates this daring with a powerful and breathtaking experience. Intoxicating and honest, the film always strikes the perfect narrative and psychological balance, presenting both the side of a victimized family, as well as that of one who carries the stigma of having “fathered” a murderer. Revealing sensitive and seriously identifiable layers of both parties, Mass easily wins the test of time as a production that helps us move beyond news, beyond media assumptions, and far beyond prejudices preestablished by one. company that hits first, then asks.

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