Stars: Angel Ruiz, Michelle Palermo and Carrie Fee
|This film was an official selection at the Phoenix Film Festival in 2014. Here's an index to my reviews of 2014 films.|
Terminus begins all sweetness and light, with a faux commercial for the company of the title, which bills itself as a people placement service. The recognisable faces of Michelle Palermo and Carrie Fee, with the new one to me of Joran Bean, hawk a company which guarantees results. Then the title card arrives in an ominous red on black with an even more ominous horror tone to highlight that this is a dark story and we need to watch carefully to figure out what's really going on. The title helps that too, as does the fact that the receptionist at Terminus is Glona, the example girl in the commercial who was placed 'in a prestigious company with locations around the world'. Yeah, the one she's advertising! So, as the soft jazz and exotic fish settle us at Terminus HQ, in comes David Keppler in the form of Angel Ruiz himself, straightening his tie before his eight o'clock with the CEO of the company, Diana Silver. Quite why he warrants the CEO for his evaluation, I have no idea; that's one of those odd details that stands out with repeat viewings.
The acting is solid, though a few lines should have been retaken early on. Ruiz wrote the film entirely so he could hurl profanity at Michelle Palermo on screen and, as always, he's strong in the tougher scenes. He does well in quieter ones here too, mixing well an overt cockiness with a little subtle self-doubt. Ruiz gives himself the story arc, so Palermo has to delve into her character. She gets to drop a lot of hints as to where the story is going and we realise that even if we don't grasp her meanings, so we pay her a lot of attention. The film is worth watching twice just to see her character from the new perspective that the first viewing gives us. Carrie Fee gets little to do except smile a lot as Glona, but she does get to end the film by thrusting her breasts at the camera (completely safe for work, folks). The story trumps the acting though, as the point is to put us in the same seat as Keppler to try to puzzle through what's going on. It's a successful and memorable piece on that front, even if you happen to be a touch typist.