Directed by: Karl Huber
Written by: Karl Huber
Genre: Thriller | Drama
THE BROADCAST ( 2015 )
Sometimes I get scared. That's a funny thing to write considering I'm not talking about a primal fear, rather the fear of watching another bad black and white independent movie. Most times, in the indie world, a black and white flick simply means the creator shot the film so badly, they decided to make it colorless and call it a stylistic choice. The reality is: I can tell. So can most people, lovers of indie film and casuals alike. Seeing that a film is without color can scare me, and it does. Thankfully, Karl Huber's film "The Broadcast" doesn't suck, and the B+W truly is a stylistic choice. I can't express how thankful I am for that.
The stage is set: It's the day before Halloween and our hero rises from her bed and immediately heads for the liquor. Instantly, we know something is not quite right in front of the sharp lens of cinematographer(s) Karl Huber and Sean Murphy. Again, another sigh of relief as I now knew that the look of the film really was stylistic, and not designed to hide something. Makes sense, since this movie takes place more than a few decades ago. Clara Fisher, played beautifully by Anja Akstin, is agoraphobic. As we learn later on, this wasn't a naturally occurring condition, rather a forced one. All this unravels as the story plays on, very nicely I might add in hindsight. It's always a pleasure to see some real thought put into a script and it always shines through... well, usually always. We find out Clara is having a rough go of things, and may have even considered ending it all. All this eventually plays second fiddle as "The Broadcast" shifts gears with the live to air broadcast of Orson Welles "War Of The Worlds".
Some of you may know the story of this now legendary broadcast and some may not. To sum it up quickly: "War Of The Worlds" was broadcast on the radio as a fiction. Aliens right? Of course it was fiction! However, the broadcast was misunderstood by many people to be a real broadcast, reporting on a true life alien invasion of Earth. Oh... to live in those days. "The Broadcast" shines a light on two such people. Clara and her neighbor, mainly. That's where the real fun of this film takes place. All wrapped together nicely as we find out the true history of our heroine, and her reaction to the radio broadcast.
This film does not play like an independent production. It's slick, easy on the eyes and ears, and acted beautifully for the most part. The use of black and white enhances the experience ten fold, and I was really diggin' a lot of the props and set pieces scattered through-out. Karl Huber did a great job keeping it real, even including a Nazi (maybe), who wasn't the devil himself! All this comes together as the clever story unfolds. My favorite parts were watching the dramatic scenes later in the film, involving the Orson Welles broadcast and the radio itself. Two things that by themselves were nothing to write home about; together however, put in place the way they were, made them some awesome scenes to watch. As written above, this film may lack some color, but it more than makes up for it with style. Hell, I was even digging the use of Andrew Kramer's scores!
The short of this write-up is simple. "The Broadcast" is a great film! The fact it's a true indie is even better. Karl, along with the cast and crew easily reinforce the notion that indie/low budget doesn't mean bad. It forces us to remember that a good story, done at least reasonably well can still be entertaining. For me personally? "The Broadcast" will give me hope as I sit down to watch the next black and white film that comes my way. Hope is a good thing, and for that reason alone the entire cast and crew should be mighty proud of their accomplishment.