A completely international DIY feature film shot entirely by actors across the world, under isolation in their own homes. Written, directed, and edited by newcomer Joshua Hooks. Here is Screen Critix review of Global Caper – A Self Taped Movie.
As COVID 19 shut down the majority of film and television productions and, as we all know, life in general, creatives faced the huge task of flexing their artistic muscles in confined spaces while maintaining minimal human contact. First time director Joshua Hooks has managed to gather together a number of actors from all over the world to lead his debut feature film Global Caper.
The movie is filmed in black-and-white and using news reports as a sort of narration to punctuate the action and update us on some of the character developments. This framing device weaves many self-contained scenes, duologues, and narratives around a few plot lines including corruption, stealing toilet rolls, undercover agents, relationship problems, adultery, and therapy. It’s a very mixed bag of results and there is a lot of questionable cinematography but it is convincing proof that in even the most challenging of situations such artistic endeavors are indeed possible.
It also goes to show that by editing together sleazy, dodgy, and downright strange characters talking to each other in black-and-white, actually create a sort of low tech, noir-esque piece of work. Of course, while escapism is valuable during times of need, allowing us to forget about our troubles for a while and reacting positively to it very much depends on the execution.
Written shot and edited in 67 days during the lockdown, the film has a scatological quality that does lead to some good moments but also some lesser ones. The news reports are good moments, for example. We have our Anchor-man, the brilliantly named Bobby Quarters (played by Russell Duncan) who gives us some genuinely funny moments with his delivery and antipathy towards the news, his superiors, and the situations. Rob Norton playing Mayor Rex is a hugely entertaining sleaze bag and the main villain of the piece. Around these two we have a lot of different characters who pop up throughout the 93-minute runtime, all filming themselves and doing their best to act as if they are performing opposite the other person on screen.
According to Hooks, the direction he gave his actors was to toss out all of the traditional rules of self-taping, not to use a reader (someone to feed them lines), be their own set designer and wardrobe department, and also direct themselves unless Hooks wanted something specific from them in a particular scene. However, I feel some of the actors could have done with more direction just to help tone down their performances a little, while also needing help with some of their reactions that don’t quite fit the deliveries of the previous bits of dialogue.
Global Caper doesn’t quite hit all it is aiming for, there are far too many characters to keep up with and a lot of the story threads are confusing and difficult to follow because of the numbers involved. However, these minor quibbles will be easily rectifiable the more experience Hooks gets from directing. There is a definite noir quality to Global Caper and some of it is particularly clever and an admirable effort that, with a bit more discipline, would have gained more stars. As it stands, Global Caper – A Self Taped Movie is a successful, artistic experiment that is well worth your time.