Home Reviews Films Film Review – THE A-FRAME: Calvin Lee Reeder Presents a Thoughtfully Constructed Science Fiction Drama [Tribeca 2024]

Film Review – THE A-FRAME: Calvin Lee Reeder Presents a Thoughtfully Constructed Science Fiction Drama [Tribeca 2024]

Film Review – THE A-FRAME: Calvin Lee Reeder Presents a Thoughtfully Constructed Science Fiction Drama [Tribeca 2024]

Johnny Whitworth The A Frame

The A-Frame Review

The A-Frame (2024) Film Review from the 23rd Annual Tribecca Film Festival,  a movie written and directed by Calvin Lee Reeder and starring Johnny Whitworth, Dana Namerode, Nik Dodani, Laketa Caston, Phillip Andre Botello, J. Barrett Cooper, Stephen Jared, Barry Mulholland, Melissa O. Bowen, Darlene Spencer, Audra Todd, Luka Ashley Carter, Jennie Malone and Colleen O’Morrow.

The A-Frame, directed by Calvin Lee Reeder, is electrifying entertainment but its intense and intriguing themes are occasionally laid low by the film’s bare bones plot development. Still, the movie is highly watchable with some fine performances and thought-provoking themes that could make it a new favorite among midnight horror movie fans.

Dana Namerode is the star of the film. She portrays a musician named Donna, a new cancer patient who attends a support group as the film opens. The leader of that support group, Linda (the great Laketa Caston), scolds Donna for coming 8 minutes late and not having respect for the group’s time. Still, Linda invites Donna to sit down and speak among the other members of the cancer support group. Soon, Donna meets a mysterious man, Sam (Johnny Whitworth) who has hacked into a computer’s hospital list to get the names of patients he can help with some new technology he has developed. Though Sam seems capable of helping cure cancer, the movie has some surprises up its sleeve as the plot moves forward.

One of the best parts of The A-Frame is a cancer-stricken comedian that Donna meets named Rishi (Nik Dodani) who cracks corny but strangely funny jokes about his current predicament. Rishi develops a bond with Donna as the plot unfolds and after Sam has helped Donna out considerably, she thinks that, perhaps, Rishi could benefit from what the quirky Sam has to offer with his supposedly groundbreaking technology.

The A-Frame serves as a cautionary tale of people trying to outfit their probable fates. Of course, things will not all go as planned since Sam is not playing with a full deck. Donna will be forced to confront the fact that Sam could not truly be all he’s presented himself to be. Meanwhile, poor Rishi is nearing the end of his life and has hopes that his life can be salvaged. Dodani is perfectly cast as Rishi and when he removes his wig in a heart-wrenching moment within the film, it’s a very moving scene. Dodani is likable and funny here and the audience will follow his character throughout the movie.

Laketa Caston walks away with this film with just a few key scenes in the movie. Linda is a role that Caston delves deep inside and shows the viewer a woman with fierce determination who tries to inspire her group the best way she can. She says that life has a “ticking clock” and suggests that everybody is afraid of it running out. It’s what we do with our lives during the time we have that is important and Caston’s performance drives these points home and then some. It’s a masterfully done performance.

While Dana Namerode is effective in the lead, Whitworth’s performance is, ultimately, a little underwhelming. At first, Whitworth’s physicist character is compelling and draws the viewer in but the movie does less with Sam than a perfect movie would have. It ultimately reduces Sam to a pitiful fate at the conclusion but, then again, his ultimate destination is also a bit silly considering that the film builds up his character so much that the viewer may be expecting more substance at the movie’s ending regarding how Sam gets his just desserts.

Namerode keeps the viewer watching through a performance that could launch her film career significantly. She plays off Dodani especially well. When comparing and contrasting the performances, though, Caston’s performance is at such a high level, it almost feels like she’s worthy of a more ambitious project than this one ultimately turns out to be. Still,  nevertheless, The A-Frame delivers the goods when it wants to.

As a story about the quest to change one’s fate and try to extend life, The A-Frame has a lot to say. It doesn’t say as much as it could have, though, because it descends into its thriller material at many given intervals throughout. That being said, it’s highly watchable and suspenseful. There were more opportunities to develop the movie’s plot and the film’s brief running time remains a hint that maybe the budget could have been bigger. These flaws aside, the themes the movie presents are interesting enough to grab the audience’s attention.

The A-Frame is a story that teaches us the importance of making every minute count. It’s a good message and alongside the film’s wildcard scares and creepy story line developments, is a performance by Laketa Caston that will undoubtedly launch her career significantly. If anything superb comes from this film, it’s the turn by Caston which is first-rate all the way. This new film will definitely inspire some thought-provoking conversations afterwards.

Rating: 7/10

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