Back in 2013, director Justin Edgar brought misfit comedy We Are The Freaks to the Edinburgh Film Festival to many not-so-impressed opinions. However, this year he returns with noir thriller The Marker but can it hit the mark this time?
Thankfully, it does. The Marker is a taut, slick and stylish thriller that dazzles rather than dabbles and shows that Edgar may actually have some directing capabilities in him, something perhaps made irreverent with his more than lackluster filmography. Chambers (Ian Sharp) is our keyhole into this story; the film opens with him pulling off a job for Brendan (John Hannah) but, when things go awry, he finds himself serving time after he is forced to pull the trigger on Ana (Ana Ulara) in front of her daughter. Once out of a prison, with guilt permeating every thought and action of his, Chambers looks to make amends by tracking down the daughter Jess (Skye Lourie).
This is a more pensive thriller than most, relishing in character tension than more orchestrated suspense. Edgar excels in crafting such a real, raw film - everything from authentic and grounded characters to even a grittier aesthetic with bleaker hues and more simplistically styled and angled camera-work tracking our characters. About a decade or so passes from Chambers being put behind bars to his release yet his tortured guilt-ridden conscience is on display for all, in a very emotionally charged performance from Ian Sharp that remains subdued and very wound back but that displays all in some very soul-baring scenes which clearly show the years of searing pain that has lambasted his soul. Ana Ulara gives some great support too, as his victim Ana’s guise; similarly, this is another reserved performance but equally as felt and haunting and the pair work magic together, anchoring each other to heightened magnitudes.
Ultimately, The Marker acts as more of a neo-noir psychological, character study than a flat-out thriller. But Edgar orchestrates tension superbly, pulling the cut-throat cords of these characters throughout, and a resonating score and some slick direction make for a really suspenseful final act. Before that though, the film kind of lulls occasionally, every so often meandering around its subjects and clearly filling out a runtime quota before getting back to the meatier, more white-knuckle character story at hand. It’s a compelling picture and, whilst purposefully pensive and slower, tension constantly permeates the 80-minute runtime to create a very riveting, very off-kilter neo-noir thriller.
VERDICT:Justin Edgar hits the mark with The Marker, a pensive, riveting neo-noir crime drama.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.