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First Look Review - SNAPSHOT

A down on his luck photographer finds himself in possession of a compromising photo of the First Lady.


Review by Troy Balmayer

Directed by: Eric Etebari

Starring: Angela Little, Zach McGowan, Angela Gots, Robert Loggia, Michael Pare, Martin Kove



"Eric Etebari directs this film with a nice touch, as though a master photographer himself, but sadly a lot of it feels quite amateur hour."


Perhaps not as polished as it could be, considering it’s about the skill of photography, the constant visual grittiness of this tale of right and wrong does the necessary job. It has strength in a confident lead and secondary characters are just as interesting, but sadly it suffers from being quite ridiculous.
One time paparazzo Thomas (Zach McGowan) has built up quite a collection of celebrity snaps, but his business is failing and the heights of his professionalism reach firehouse calendar shots. Living with his girlfriend Arianna (Angela Gots), his world may become blown up as he inadvertently gains an explicit photo of the First Lady (Joyce DeWitt).
Eric Etebari directs this film with a nice touch, as though a master photographer himself; there are some neat moments in the flashy snapshots of Zach’s introduction or the quite lovely image of seeing Arianna reading the letter amongst the past world with her father. Sadly a lot of it feels quite amateur hour; hand held cams get a bit tedious, implanted footage on TV screens looks shoddy and layered over dialogue is clear in some places, but it’s certainly an engagingly told tale about the world of today.
The biggest asset of this film is the way it deals with obsessing over fame, money and capturing attention. Thomas to a degree falls foul of this media craved society in his background bleeding through to the way he cannot help but hold on to the compromising pictures of a powerful figure in America. The peak of Robert Borneman’s script comes very close to the end as the President delivers an address on his policies, which features strongly the reliance of technology and how it drives people to suicide or hate others. That’s actually such a poignant and relevant message that it took me by surprise.
Now to the other side; the pitfall is in the far-fetched nature of the plot. It’s the biggest force of the story, making the drama continue but the whole thing of the First Lady happening to fall just as Thomas is there is silly from the get go, and then the entire Presidency alarm at what may happen in election season becomes more daft then gripping. Also, Casey and Randy are such contrived tools to progress the tension that it’s nearly laughable. I feel that some grounded moments about father/son bonding, reflections on loss and Thomas/Arianna’s connection took a back seat to the cheapness of the exploitative photo narrative.
That word cheap is something that sticks out and resonates, as the film does feel cheap in its clich├ęd look at characters. The acting talent can only try their best with some pretty cardboard personas to play. McGowan is probably the best of the lot, cool and assured as this photographer still in love with dark rooms and old cameras. Gots doesn’t have a stand out moment and gets close to annoying when she randomly freaks out over Thomas visiting a store owned by a woman, her pendant and locked box story is quite nice to watch though. DeWitt feels like Edna from The Incredibles, her look and sound bouncing off the walls as cheesy and hilarious.
It would be a stretch to say this film is worth a watch but it’s not one to totally forget as the theme of trigger happy paps is always going to run true. Maybe a sheen of modern aged gloss and talent could have made the film look better and ultimately hand it a recommendation.




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