AND THEN THERE WAS EVE (2017)
Starring Tania Nolan, Rachel Crowl, Karan Soni, Mary Holland, Dominic Bogart, Anne Gee Byrd, Mike Erwin, John Kassir, Jenica Bergere, Crystal Marie Denha, Christine Weatherup, Jack Cullison, Conrad Roberts, Bianca Von Krieg, Alixzandra Dove, Isley Reust, Vanessa Waters, Doug Purdy and Colette Freedman.
Screenplay by Colette Freedman & Savannah Bloch.
Directed by Savannah Bloch.
Distributed by Metamorphic Productions. 96 minutes. Not Rated.
Screened at the 2018 Women’s Film Festival.
And Then There Was Eve is not afraid to take on some big issues in modern life – one issue in particular – and treat them seriously, not just as controversial subjects. It’s smart, and sometimes very funny, and for a while fairly mysterious, and at the same time I have to admit that in the long run I’m not sure I buy it.
It is too bad, because it has a pretty cool concept. Alyssa (Tania Nolan) is a successful photographer who is married to a respected jazz musician and theorist. One night, when she is expecting him home for dinner, he never shows up. She finally falls asleep on the couch, and when she wakes up the place has been ransacked and there is no sign of her husband.
She calls the police, but they seem to be convinced that he left on his own. She constantly texts his phone, and they are received and read, but no answers ever come. When she checks with friends and acquaintances, no one seems to know what Alyssa is talking about. Even his mother does not seem to be concerned that he is the victim of foul play.
And strangely, for some reason Alyssa cannot remember anything about what happened – even so far as being unable to come up with his face in her mind.
When going through some of the books that her husband has written over the years, she remembers the forewords were always written by a music friend of his, a pianist named Eve (Rachel Crowl). Though they never had met before, Alyssa reaches out to her to try to get help in finding out what happened. Eve is not interested in helping at first, but eventually befriends Alyssa and tries to help her work out her grief.
I won’t spill on the main plot twist about what happened to her husband in And Then There Was Eve, even though it is a vital aspect of the entire film. Truthfully, that surprise is the film’s real calling card, so I don’t want to give it away. Sadly, that’s sort of like trying to talk about Moby Dick without mentioning the whale.
That said, when the big reveal does hit, you can’t un-see it. (And honestly, the hints start to pile up about half-way through the movie, but I had a bit of an inkling from the beginning.) It skews how you see the rest of the story.
Once you do know the secret, it makes you more and more worried about the mental health of Alyssa. How does she not see what’s going on? It seems so obvious. The audience has figured everything out much earlier than she does. Also, the reveal makes several of the earlier plot points seem unlikely, and some rather mean, on the part of one of the characters, though later there is a rather rote explanation that supposedly explains some of the hurtfulness.
Still, you must give And Then There Was Eve credit for being willing to take on a hot-button issue. It’s an imperfect movie, but it has much going for it. The cinematography, art direction, dialogue writing and acting are first rate. Particularly New Zealand-born star Tania Nolan, who is best-known for TV roles on Spartacus and Home & Away, she carries this tricky role with confidence and class. First-time director Savannah Bloch (film director, she has done work on the stage) has put together an impressive debut. And the jazz soundtrack is amazing.
Yet, I must admit, but I just don’t quite buy into the main character’s completely neurotic state of denial. I’m no psychologist, but I found it hard to believe that someone could so fully block out a traumatic experience from their mind. Perhaps I’m the one who is wrong, and they could, but it felt a little bit like a screenwriting cheat to me.
And Then There Was Eve is a complex film. It starts off as a thriller but ends up as a psychological study of two damaged people. Personally, I enjoyed the mystery more than the later dramatic sections, but if you are willing to give in to the movie’s conceit, it is most certainly worth seeing.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2018 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 17, 2018.