Directed by David M. Matthews
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 115 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, French
MSRP: $ 29.99
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Review Date: June 13, 2011
Trite storytelling is trite storytelling whether the people before and behind the camera are black or white, experienced or amateur, competent or incompetent. David Matthew’s N-Secure is a combination of genres, all haphazardly slapped together into a mishmash of clichés and yawn-inducing situations and directed with the pace of a tired tortoise. This torturous blend of comedy and drama, thriller and message movie shouldn’t really appeal to anyone since the characters are so inconsistently written and performed and the situations are so dishearteningly banal. This one misses the mark all around.
Software entrepreneur David Washington (Cordell Moore) gives new meaning to the words “control freak.” Demanding of all and tolerant of no one, David has no friends apart from his fiancé Robin (Essence Atkins), and he likes it that way. On the eve of their wedding, he catches his love in an indelicate situation with Isaac Roberts (Lamman Rucker), a friend of his fiancé, who’s also engaged to Robin’s best friend Jill (Tempestt Bledsoe). Obviously the wedding is off, but Robin learns she’s pregnant and is sure that David is the father, a condition he resolutely denies. In the meantime, he becomes fond of new girl in town Tina (Denise Boutte), but after his bitter disappointment with Robin, David lays down some very stringent ground rules that Tina will have to abide by if she wants to continue being in his life.
This is one of those films where it seems clear the writers and director weren’t exactly sure what kind of movie they were assembling. David’s control issues are played for laughs early on, but by the halfway mark in this endlessly dull film, they’ve reached such monumentally dysfunctional proportions that someone would have to be brain dead not to notice them and stay far, far away from any interaction with him. (Truly, one begins to doubt the sanity of most of the characters in the script based on their absurd actions and reactions to the everyday events that are going on around them.) The film thus veers uneasily from comedy to drama to melodrama to, eventually, thriller (you'll immediately be reminded of Sleeping with the Enemy) as David seeks ways to eliminate all who stand in his way or who cause ripples in his carefully structured daily life. When mysterious deaths or near-deaths begin happening, there’s no investigation by the police, and the characters seem to exist in a vacuum where they’re powerless to act either separately or together to make headway against this outrageously unreasonable monster. Matthews’ direction is likewise hapless from the get-go. Scenes are clipped at the oddest moments, inserts are stuck in as awkward transitions between segments, and there are so many moments that should have been left on the cutting room floor (a good example: an awkward meeting between David and his old marine buddy (Rick Ravanello) accomplishes nothing that couldn’t have been stated in one sentence from the mouth of one of the established characters.)
One has to feel for Cordell Moore acting this impossible to play role of David with its hair-trigger jumps between emotions and a complete lack of psychological exposition to help the viewer understand his extreme psychoses. Denise Boutte is strikingly beautiful and gives the closest to a professional performance in the company as the loyal punching bag Jill. It’s not the actress’s fault that the writers have restricted her from behaving in a way any normal person would act in similar abusive circumstances. Lamman Rucker as the tragic Isaac actually displays more charisma than the film’s leading man, but he isn’t given many opportunities to show off what he can do. Essence Atkins’s Robin is certainly an enigma, complaining about a lack of livelihood to feed and clothe her new baby and yet showing up in some quite beautiful designer clothes late in the film.
The film has been framed at 2.35:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Sharpness is exemplary for most of the film, the only exceptions being one or two of those unnecessary inserts which seem to have been pulled from some old video footage. Color saturation levels are excellent, and flesh tones are very natural and appealing. Black levels aren’t the greatest, but they aren’t a major component of the film’s visual composition. The film has been divided into 28 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix only uses the constant music score by Mark Ellis and David Matthews as the film’s only real surround component. There is almost no extension of ambient sounds from the fronts to the rears though one must admit that the music does utilize the LFE channel to emphasize the bass through numerous songs and orchestral score. Dialogue resides securely in the center channel.
“Inside N-Secure” is a 22 ¼-minute segment of The Steve Harvey Morning Show with interviewer Carla Ferrell welcoming actors Cordell Moore, Essence Atkins, Caryn Ward, Lamman Rucker, BernNadette Stanis, and Denise Boutte and asking them about their characters in the movie. Each of the actors (except Lamman Rucker) set up a film clip featuring his or her character. Rucker gives viewers a quick tour of the set. This is presented in 480i.
The disc presents a promo ad for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son.
2/5 (not an average)
N-Secure seems more like a homemade film than a professional product with its inconsistent writing, acting, and directing. There is nothing here that hasn’t been seen before in far better films though the video quality of the Blu-ray release really is outstanding.