FILM & SCREENPLAY REVIEWS
Writers: Scott J. Ramsey & Hannah Katherine Jost
Director: Scott J. Ramsey
No fantasy is too obscene at the masquerade balls hosted by Christian King (played by Hope Raymond), known to her guests as X. The monthly masked debauchery that takes place at her beachside estate is all fun and games until the arrival of an unexpected guest from Christian's past threatens to bring to light her darkest secret: she is a voyeur who keeps a hidden camera in the guest bathroom.
Eliza Boivin as Stella
The story opens with an intriguing voice-over that invites the audience into the world of The Foundation – "You are about to enter a safe space, a world free of judgment."
This weird place looks and feels like something we've never seen before on screen (and in real life too, obviously)- the characters have a stamp with a letter and a number on their back ("pleasure to meet you, I'm B1"), and wear masks, so that everyone appears equal.
When X tells her guests "we demand that you have a pleasant time", something in her voice tells us that the complications are coming. And they are.
The acting is solid. Eliza Boivin as Stella and Hope Raymond as Christian ("X") deliver great performances, as two powerful and manipulative characters. They start as complete rivals, but as the story progresses, we learn that their relationship is much more complicated. As a matter of fact, they even have things in common: they both live in the shadows. Raymond's work is brave and natural- she leads the film and her character is fascinating throughout. Boivin's work is phenomenal, considering her character's challenges (wearing a mask in many scenes, appearing in fewer scenes). Once she takes off her mask (literally), we get to know another side of her, which makes her character even more rounded and interesting. More importantly, we get a hint on Christian's secrets. This, indeed, is a crucial moment in the film.
Hope Raymond as Christian ("X")
Beyond flawless dialogue and fantastic performances, the cinematography by Chantel Beam and editing by Scott J. Ramsey are impressive- using many angles and shots in every scene, especially when the tension increases. These clever decisions keep the viewer engaged and help to tell the story in another dimension.
What we loved most was… the story! Written by Scott J. Ramsey and Hannah Katherine Jost, "X" is super original, creative and courageous. It's always refreshing to watch a film that doesn't remind you of other films. The conflicts between the X and Stella felt just right, and the twists started coming one after another ("Stella Marie, how on earth did you get in here?"; the footage that Christian finds in her hidden camera; and the inevitable chaos in The Foundation, after Christian reveals her secrets).
X - Official Trailer
The film's structure is interesting. The story is divided into four acts- Act I – The Kingdom- the exposition that tells the story of "The Foundation", Act II – The King, Act III – The Queen, and Act IV – The Knave. This gives the audience an opportunity to meet the characters from different perspectives. The first scene of Act II starts with Christian's voice over. For the first time, we get to "feel" her, and understand her motives.
The film's length (2:07 hours) is a bit long. However, this complex story Is intriguing throughout, thanks to the characters, conflicts and plot twists. These keep the viewer engaged, wanting to know what's next in every scene. And that is probably the director's biggest achievement.
Scott J. Ramsey's debut feature film, "X", won an Honorable Mention: Narrative Feature at LAFA in February 2019.
Scott J. Ramsey is the director, co-writer, and editor of "X", the first feature-length movie presented by The Foundation. He is also the vocalist and songwriting half of musical duo The Major Arcana.
X - official website: https://www.everybodylovesx.com/