|DVD Prayer to a Vengeful God
Run time: 93 min
Genres: Action | Drama | Mystery
Director: Dan Eberle
Writers: Dan Eberle
Stars: Dan Eberle, Paul James Vasquez, Jennifer Farrugia
The story of a man caught in a whirlpool of grief and rage over the murder of his wife, Prayer to a Vengeful God is contemporary revenge drama, presented in an austere visual style, completely without dialogue.
Release Date: 8 October 2010 (USA)
John Krause (Dan Eberle) lives a successful life, but his wife wants a little something more, moonlighting in the world of sex and drugs. She makes a tragic mistake, and ends up a target of the local dealers. John becomes collateral damage, left for dead (but luckily only in a coma). Upon waking, he soon decides upon a course of revenge.
Eberle, who is also the writer and director, continues to blaze a trail of artistic genius. I had seen his previous film, "The Local", and was thoroughly impressed by his ability to make a low budget independent feature have the same level of style, quality and intensity as a Guy Ritchie crime drama. "Vengeful" is a different sort of film, perhaps more artistic, but the talent is equal to or better than that in "Local".
Besides Eberle, who is a skilled writer, director and actor, a few other stars stand out and should be given credit: first and foremost, the late Paul James Vasquez who plays the Transient. Vasquez has a way of combining a glamorous Fabio and a dirty, homeless thug into the same character.. and it works. It really, really works. Due to Vasquez's skills and physical stature, no one else could have filled this role, and Eberle is lucky to have a friend and teacher like this.
The other actor who stood out was Jillaine Gill, who played the Urchin. Her role is less defined — no real name, no distinct alliances. Gill has called her role that of "guardian angel", which I think is appropriate, but what are her motivations and where does she come from? That Jillaine was able to play this part and make it so believably mysterious is a strong credit to her… I hope to see her in future Eberle productions and other films.
The making-of featurette (sent to me by Eberle, and I'm not sure where else this will be available) is a fifteen minute behind the scenes that refers to "power in silence". And I think that really sums up this film: it epitomizes the idea of less is more. By lacking dialogue, we are sucked in more, left to analyze more deeply on visuals and actions… and the varieties of interpretation come into play. There is a set narrative, but some aspects are ambiguous — but this adds to, not takes away from, the film; you can watch it again and again.
I do not have the expertise to analyze and critique the technical merits of the film, but truly this is a professional film disguised as an independent one. Dan Eberle does what the big studios do without the aid of millions of dollars and A-list actors. But the fact of the matter is this: Eberle and crew do it better.