Charlie Griak’s The Center will leave you what happens to the character at the end of the film.
Director: Charlie Griak
Writer: Charlie Griak
Starring: Matt Cici, Judd Einan, Amanda Day
Running time: 72mins
Written and directed by Griak, the film follows an aspiring writer Ryan who is looking for a way to change his life.
Coming from what seems to be an unloving home, Ryan puts his own dreams on the side in order to help.
He then becomes entangled in a cult-like organisation that attempts to empower those on the side lines.
Reading the synopsis, there is a clear, linear structure to the film but after watching there is a clear distinction between The Center and other American films.
There was no clear ending to the film but nevertheless it didn’t need it.
It seems that Griak was focused on creating a deep and memorable film filled with empowering quotations including ‘make the best of what you have’.
During the screening, there was a sort of expectation of what could happen. Hollywood has made film viewers around the world expect some dramatic or twisted ending but The Center goes against that.
There is a battle when watching an independent film between Hollywood expectations and the reality of what actually happens and this notion seems to come to the surface in The Center.
There are many scenes where we see Ryan wanting to achieve something but is immediately thrust back into reality and in turn, the viewers are not having the escapism that is automatically given in Hollywood films.
Does it work? I would say so.
The unusual, non-linear narrative is accompanied by eerie and slightly hypnotic music that is constant throughout.
Music is a tool that builds up the tension, gives more narrative to certain characters and audiences gain a sense of genre with the score.
The music in The Center keeps the audience on their toes. The eerie music suggests something dramatic or out of the ordinary will happen as the narrative progresses.
Having the score being played constantly and varying from loud, dramatic music through to the more slow and eerie pieces all added to the fact that there was nothing that gave away the narrative.
Independent films are not for everyone and it is hard for them to keep the attention of their audiences.
The Center does however makes you think about your own life and about things that you should have changed or could change at that moment and it does bring into account the notion of ‘what if….?’
Despite having limited character development, there was still an identifiable aspect to Ryan. On a personal level, I found that I was able to relate to his writing ambitions and other characteristics.
It is rare that I feel I can connect and identify with Hollywood characters because they have been manipulated to suit that film.
Flowing nicely onto the next point, the main theme throughout the film was manipulation. Ryan was manipulated into not pursuing his writing dream by his family and in turn became manipulated by the cult-like organisation.
Cults have been around to centuries and The Center shows how people can be drawn into something and forced to behave in certain ways.
The Center is short but you will feel you have been bombarded with deep and meaningful quotations for a whole hour and a half.