The Riot Act (2018)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on August 30, 2019 @

The Riot Act spins its wheels. And then they come off.

Written, directed, and produced by Devon Parks, it's a piecemeal motion picture.

Part psychological drama, part revenge drama, part vanity project, it's all over the place.

It's hard to get on its wavelength, because it doesn't stay on one. It may be helpful to compare it to another indie film Ghost Light, which also is a psychological drama set in the theatre world. Ghost Light has mystery that is aided by clarity. We care. It delivers.

The Riot Act doesn't engage us. It's too busy spouting off-putting antics.

The Riot Act is the lugubrious story of Dr. William Pearrow (Brett Cullen) of an Opera House, who is a leading figure in his community. A terrible deed happens to his daughter Allye (Lauren Sweetser). Giving characters names like Allye is the level of the creativity of filmmaker Parks.

Allye and her father's relationship is the core of the film.

But the purpose is not convincing. What do we want to happen? What are we supposed to care about? It's all happenstance.

Brett Cullen gives a solid performance as the manipulative owner of the Opera House. The rest of the cast shows up.

Austin (Conner Price), a young man, says, "Revenge is nothing but self-serving."

I guess that could be the tag line of this movie.

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