Professional  Film  Reviews

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"The Moment Trap - The Lennon Dream is a narrative feature from the UK. This film is a combination of a conspiracy crime caper, a comedic face, and surprise twist film. The film features converging timelines of 4 friends dealing with the death of their friend, some corrupt traffic wardens, and a crime boss. Tragedy and farce alternate as the film progresses, until the ultimate shocking conclusion. This film created some compelling characters and intriguing plotlines. There were periods when the plotlines were a bit difficult to follow, but patience was rewarded as the stories converged and resolved. The final twist, however, seemed not to fit with the "rules" that the plots had established - that was the one gap that I found in this film. The technical aspects of the film were excellent - sound, cinematography, editing, and music were all excellent. "

"I liked the similarities of the two stories. A reminder that fame can come at a very high cost. I would not have had so many topics flipping from one to another. And you added the human element and the affects on the next generation."

"In The Moment Trap – The Lennon Dream, a group of friends hope to finish a documentary being made by a recently deceased friend in their group but end up taking on more than they bargained for. Throughout, the film explores the drive to create art, create documentaries, and the bonds of friendship pushed to the limits as they come up directly against a powerful criminal underground. The production here is well executed with carefully planned sets, props and varied locations for its large cast to utilize. Casting here is largely made up of white males in a buddy-comedy troupe that come up against the more dramatic and action-oriented aspects of Danny and Mr. Vex’s business operations. While the core group had a fun, easy-going chemistry that could change pace with the plot beats, the criminals other than Clyde often felt too one-dimensional with overly expository dialogue. A cast that was simply too large, with too many moving pieces may have been part of the blame for not giving enough space for characters to open up their identities more on screen. The scoring here is strong, and often compliments the scenes well but at times is too literal or on-the-nose with lyrics which spoils some of the immersion. Using the license plates to show different characters and roles was also a clever choice of art direction but again seemed too on-the-nose, especially with two groups of criminals that have their full names on their vehicles. Something that stood out was the montage editing which holds together the tension of multiple scenes with skill and in parts such as Arav’s movie at around the forty-three minute mark transitions between mediums and conversations easily. Something that might strengthen the narrative is clearing up the John Lennon subplot; as while it lends itself to a poetic meaning in the ending, we never really get to the heart of what it means for Mickey beyond identifying with the trauma. Overall, The Moment Trap – The Lennon Dream has many clever ideas to offer but it simply tries doing too much; from crime to comedy, to romance, to meta-filmmaking within a film, here all these elements never manage to resonate in a satisfying whole yet still manage to offer up sparks of intrigue and fun where you can find it."

"I liked the similarities of the two stories. A reminder that fame can come at a very high cost. I would not have had so many topics flipping from one to another. And you added the human element and the affects on the next generation."

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"Loyalty is a recurring theme in Steven A. Johnson’s crime drama, how the purest or insidious of allegiances forge the direction of our lives. Johnson’s film revolves around a group of friends reunited in tragedy, and to honour their shared loyalty, decide to finish something that gets them embroiled in a criminal conspiracy. The wordy title The Moment Trap - The Lennon Dream refers to the character’s filmmaking background, having sought artistic careers when younger but now have all settled into unexciting existence. Especially Mickey, whose dead-end lifestyle has led to recurring dreams about the death of John Lennon, pushing him deeper into his rash decision making. Though the motifs of Lennon’s death and criminal elements allow for some interesting visual and editorial flourishes, the memorable strength of the film is the core friendship.

 

It’s a bit of a slow start in introducing and understanding the contexts of the characters, all of them receiving phone calls about the death of their mutual friend Arav, a documentary filmmaker. The film he was working on investigating a potential parking scam conspiracy in London, Mickey, Frankie, Sherbert, Bay decide to finish the film for the money, not realising the truth in what their friend may have uncovered. The detail in Johnson’s script allows the dialogue to give a lived-in feel to the characters; though some motivations are the usual, it avoids the impression of stock characters. Johnson takes the time to set up his central characters, so when Mickey decides to kidnap corrupt parking warden Clyde, the excitement comes from the personal drama between friends rather than threats of criminal retaliation. Though the criminal retaliation also has its moments.

 

Performance-wise, The Moment Trap - The Lennon Dream has its standouts, I particularly enjoyed the work of Oliver Malam as the exasperated Frankie who is constantly trying to be the voice of reason, and Anthony Harwood as the kidnapped Clyde, whose overwhelmed panic sells the danger quite well. Again, while Johnson casts a wide net of ideas in his film, the best part of the film is the complicated simplicity of those five characters in that living room trying to figure out what to do next. Characters buy into the idea that they’re enacting justice, realisations and revelations, bargaining and frustration. While the metaphorical notions of Lennon, assassination to silence truth, and artistry are interesting, this almost chamber film of friends digging themselves deeper into a hole driven by misguided loyalty is far more engaging.

 

The Moment Trap - The Lennon Dream doesn’t necessarily bite off more than it can chew but rather focuses on elements that aren’t clear. Johnson has something great in the centre of the film but the broader themes need sharpening to make a more cohesive picture. It falls into cliché in some places but its core performances keep a nice grounding and make for an interesting story."

Indie Film Review by: Corey Bulloch