Playing God: Review. By Jude Roach.
Scott Brignac’s Playing God is an ambitious drama challenging the viewer to question their own morality. The film follows abandoned sibling Con-artists Micah(Luke Benward) and Rachel (Hannah Kasulka) on their attempt to convince grieving millionaire Ben (Alan Tudyk) of their ability to get him into contact with the God he so desperately attempts to seek. The ruse is a sneaky way to repay their debt to american gangster Vaughn (Marc Menchaca).
The film is constantly changing it’s tone reflected through the sudden switches of soundtrack, colour palette and dialogue tone. At times it feels like an Ocean’s-esque film with a similar style of comedy and costume design just to be overturned by an overtly serious scene before abruptly returning to light hearted exchanges. I was occasionally disappointed by the out of place cinematography. Instead of creating emotionally impactful scenes, the close up shots were often misused in a way that weakened my empathy towards the characters. Equally there are a few out of place scenes with little to no content that highlight a lack of creative vision.
Alan Tudyk’s acting is truly on par in this film and Playing God is certainly a project where his acting scenes truly shine compared to the voice acting roles he’s had in Moana and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He managed to portray a truly convincing act as an alcoholic man grieving the loss of his daughter. Equally Michael McKean is perfectly cast as comedic relief and his chemistry with the other actors stand out in this role. The same unfortunately can not be said about the two lead actors Hannah Kasulka and Luke Benward who struggled to convince me in their one on one scenes. The two lead’s lack of chemistry is reflected in the occasional rigid and uninspiring scenes. Despite this disappointment, they would partially redeem themselves when another cast member was present for them to bounce off of and that is when their talent was outspoken.
Despite a truly compelling performance by Alan Tudyk, Playing God is at times overshadowed by its lack of direction. The film does contain ideologically sensitive themes, and manages to create an enjoyable viewing experience for a more mature audience, however that doesn’t mean it’s perfect in every aspect. Ultimately the talented cast manages to distract from the film’s inconsistencies.
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