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Movie Review: ‘Tacoma’ – Jigeesh Magar Tackles Sacrifice and the Ethical implications of Scientific Advancements

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Tacoma,” written and directed by Jigeesh Magar, is an ambitious indie film that combines elements of thriller, drama, and science fiction. 

The story revolves around two brilliant individuals, Leo (played by Asher Deva) and Alejandra (played by Karrie Martin Lachney). Both characters are haunted by personal tragedies and come together in an attempt to create a revolutionary serum that can transform dying human organs into healthy ones. This noble endeavour, however, is fraught with some struggle and danger as both face significant external and internal conflicts that threaten their lives and their groundbreaking research.

From the outset, we are introduced to Leo, a scientist who is working tirelessly in his lab, using a pig as a test subject for his serum. The film quickly establishes the depth of his torment as he interacts with a mysterious woman who helps him in his research. This woman, we later learn, is a hallucination, a figment of Leo‘s grief-stricken mind as he deals with the loss of someone dear to him. This ghostly presence is not just a symbol of his past but also an ominous entity keenly interested in his breakthrough.

Alejandra, on the other hand, is entangled with dangerous characters who are equally interested in the serum for their own purposes. Her connection to Gene Mohr, played by the seasoned actor Eric Roberts, introduces a layer of suspense and menace. 

Gene Mohr is depicted as a wealthy, dying man who commands authority even from his sickbed. His interactions with his son and henchmen reveal a ruthless determination to obtain the serum, believing it holds life-saving properties.

The narrative style chosen by Magar leans heavily on dialogue to convey the scientific aspects of Leo and Alejandra‘s work. We see the lab, the setup, and the props, but much of the understanding of their research comes from their discussions. This choice might leave some viewers wanting more visual exposition, but it also places a greater focus on the characters’ emotional and psychological journeys.

One of the film’s strengths is its character development. Leo and Alejandra‘s personal struggles are poignantly portrayed, with each finding solace and purpose in their work and their growing trust in each other. Their relationship is a testament to the power of collaboration and mutual support in the face of adversity.

Eric Roberts‘ performance as Gene Mohr adds a significant gravitas to the film. He embodies the role of an antagonist not through overtly villainous actions but through a palpable sense of desperation and authority. His presence elevates the stakes and underscores the ethical dilemmas surrounding the serum.

The subplot involving Alejandra‘s family, particularly her relationship with her wheelchair-bound father and her sister, adds further depth to her character. These familial ties highlight the personal sacrifices and the moral complexities faced by those driven to make groundbreaking discoveries.

The film’s cinematography, characterized by tight handheld shots, enhances the overall sense of unease and tension. This visual style effectively draws viewers into the thriller and drama elements of the story, while the science fiction aspect serves as a compelling backdrop.

Despite its strengths, “Tacoma” is not without its flaws. The interaction between Leo and his hallucination can be confusing, especially when Alejandra also starts encountering and interacting with this same woman. This blurring of reality and hallucination, while intriguing, might leave some viewers disoriented. Additionally, the reliance on dialogue to explain scientific concepts might not satisfy those expecting more visual demonstrations of the serum’s effects.

As the film progresses, the plot steadily pieces itself together, leading to a climactic ending with a twist that sets the stage for a potential sequel. Magar skillfully incorporates action and intensity in the closing sequence, leaving audiences with a sense of anticipation for what might come next.

Tacoma” is a commendable indie film from a writer and director with great potential. While it may not be the most polished or visually stunning production, it excels in keeping viewers engaged with its compelling characters and intriguing storyline. 

The film subtly tackles themes of sacrifice and the ethical implications of scientific advancements, making it a thought-provoking watch. 

I would rate this indie film a solid 6/10, recognizing its achievements in storytelling and character development, while acknowledging areas where it could have offered more clarity and visual engagement.

Second on my list of addictions is Movies.. the only thing I could possibly love more is my Dearest Waakye lol. Nothing else does a better job of reminding me that ANYTHING is possible with the right amount of effort. I have great eye for details and flaws in scripts. Shallow scripts bore me. I am an avid reader. Your everyday Mr Nice guy. Always the last to speak in a room full of smart people. Half Human, half Martian but full MOVIE FREAK.

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