REVIEW: MASS (2021) Best known for his roles in television series

Frasier (1998), Dollhouse (2009), or Ballers (2018) as well as films such as Orange County (Jake Kasdan, 2002), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (David Bowers, 2011) , or The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard, 2011) which has mostly comedic storytelling undertones, it might be hard to believe that a film with the dark colors of Mass was written and directed by actor Fran Kranz.. The premise of the story is quite simple. However, Kranz doesn’t seem to want to just present an ordinary drama narrative. To produce a deeper emotional effect for the story, Kranz takes a risky path by using a limited number of characters who then interact with each other in the same place throughout the film’s story. Succeed?

The storyline of Mass itself takes place in the present and is told to take place in a city in the United States where two pairs of parents, Jay ( Jason Isaacs ) and Gail Perry ( Martha Plimpton ) and Richard ( Reed Birney ) and Linda ( Ann Dowd)), planning to meet each other for the first time. Their meeting was not just to chat with each other. A shooting incident occurred where the children of the two couples went to school and claimed their lives. This tragic event prompts Jay and Gail Perry to meet Richard and Linda to find out what really motivated Richard and Linda’s son in the shooting that killed several people at his school, including Jay and Gail Perry’s teenage son.

Placing a number of characters to exchange dialogues in the same space throughout the storytelling of a film is not a completely new storytelling system. The theme of two pairs of parents meeting each other to discuss their children was also previously presented by Roman Polanski through Carnage (2011) by placing Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly as characters of parents who almost never stop talking for the entire length of the film’s storytelling. Admittedly, the presentations presented by both Carnage and Masshas the impression of a stage drama that is so thick. Therefore, Kranz’s tough task in executing his film is to maintain and engage the audience’s attention as a whole even though they can only watch the actors’ stage play action through a screen and not directly. Luckily, Kranz has this ability.

With the theme of the story telling about mass shootings at schools – which in recent years has indeed become a heated social issue for Americans, Kranz slowly develops the storyline. Starting with a formal conversation between the four characters, Kranz then increases the emotional intensity that forms between each character while opening conversations about spirituality, gun ownership, parenting and the environment, peer pressure, to mental health issues. Brilliantly, these discussions are never presented in a tendentious manner or feel intended to teach the audience. Kranz’s storytelling makes the discussions that are formed between the characters flow like ordinary conversations but contain deep meaning.

Kranz also managed to provide a strong dig for each character. No character feels like the one to blame or the characters present stand out more than the other characters. Massmaking each character a victim of such a heartbreaking situation. Kranz’s execution of the story and characters also received very solid support from the cast. It is difficult to determine who shines the most through their acting performances in bringing the characters they play to life because each actor feels mutually supportive of one another. Each cast comes with their own strong moments – elements that will easily drag any audience into the emotional struggles that each character in this film is experiencing. At the same time, it is clear that it will be difficult to forget about the final moment that Dowd gave in this film, where he tells about one of the moments of his relationship with his son, which makes Mass. look brilliant.

Mass , it must be admitted, is not a cinematic experience that will be enjoyed by everyone. The theme of the story is dark and mingled with the atmosphere of a sad narrative will be easy enough to make some people feel empty. At the same time, Kranz’s execution of his film appears so intimate and powerful. The narrative of this film is able to effectively leave “wounds” for anyone who can give space to the storytelling. A very impressive directing debut.