Blu-ray Review: ‘Victim’ Suffers From Too Much Going On

‘Victim’ is a watered down take on both the “good girl/bad guy” and “life changing teacher” movie tropes, cluttered with filler and unnecessary subplots that distract from any overall story. From the very beginning, the film sets itself up to feature complex characters in complex situations. It does make great strides in this direction, but it is unable to create the depth it aspires to, with all of its various subplots and incredibly short running time. Its preoccupation with complexity breeds a chaos that results in an ending that attempts to incoherently straddle tragedy with a notion of overcoming adversity. It is unnecessarily disappointing and vague.

Tyson (Ashley Chin) is a twenty-year old caught in a bad way. He has been the sole caretaker and provider for his sister since he was 16, which has forced him to undertake a life of crime to pay his debts. The hope of a better life, for both him and his sister, has brought him to a place where he wants to move on from his criminal past, but his old life won’t be disposed of so quickly. The appearance of Tia (Ashley Madekwe) a girl from a very different background, offers Tyson a glance at what his life could be like if he went legit. Meanwhile, his sister finds similar encouragement and motivation for a better life from an inspirational teacher (David Harewood).

Performance wise the movie is fairly strong and consistent. None of the actors really steal any of their scenes, but many offer engrossing performances. Ashley Chin creates a character that is simultaneously sympathetic and flawed. The inadequacies of his performance appear traceable more to a lack of depth in the screenwriting than his acting abilities.

Much of the film’s editing and scene transitions feel very amateurish, and quickly become annoying to watch. There are multiple montages that feature a hip-hop song played over scenes made up of a bunch of jerky five to ten second camera shots. While this technique does allow the story to progress much quicker, it is at the expense of giving the audience a chance to develop a better understanding of the characters.

‘Victim’ suffers from having too much going on. It offers snippets of noteworthy moments, but it quickly squanders these by biting off more than it can handle in its short running time.

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