Chasing Valentine full movie review - Beautifully depicted story worth watching once or twice or ten times!
Chasing Valentine was a breath of fresh air to say the least. It was in no way predictable which is hard to come by these days.
I found myself constantly on the edge of my seat thinking the story could go in so many directions at any point in time. It did not have the ending I expected and I'm completely happy with that--I think it leaves us just the way it should.
I'd like to first comment on the visual piece of art that is Chasing Valentine. Too often, indie films are lacking in camera work, lighting, sound, color, something...and we are forgiving because it happens to be indie. This Film is simply beautiful. From the opening shot, I was drawn into this gorgeous visualization. The sound matched the perfection of the picture and I felt like I was actually viewing it in theater. From that moment on, I was a welcome spectator to anything and everything they could throw at me.
I'd also like to note that Wardrobe/hair/makeup were fantastic. In the opening scene I actually had to rewind because I had no idea I was watching Gwen Cumyn. I believe I yelled out something like, "wait, whaaaaaaaat, no wayyyyy..." Rewind. Wow, excellent work because she embodies this character in this scene.
Now, for the script. I absolutely loved this story. I think you can take away so much more from it than what the premise lets on, but I think that's brilliant. It is a joyride of emotions. We are given brief glimpses into the worlds of Chase and Valentine, and yet I feel like I was submersed in their worlds so well in such a short time. I felt so much for both of there characters in so little time. Chase is played by Adam Langton and his portrayal is heartbreakingly beautiful. We meet Chase in mid breakup with Scarlet. Directly after leaving, she ends up dying. I love that her passing is left open as to the details because it makes it all that more powerful. I was worried for a moment that is all we would get from her at the beginning of the film, but Chase continues to drown in his sorrow and depression by listening to cassette tapes of Scarlet's words of love from the past. Side note: Can we just talk about how charming tapes are at this point in technology? Anyway, Jen Pogue does a brilliant job at tugging on the heartstrings of the audience. She brings a life to Scarlet that long surpasses her character in death. Watching Chase relive her words made me feel as if I had seen their entire relationship play out. And yet, we don't.
Enter Gwenlyn Cumyn. Wow, what a force to be reckoned with. She plays Valentine, an out-of-the-ordinary call girl. I'm familiar with Cumyn's previous work, so I expected we would get a great performance--she blew those expectations out of the water. She has an ability to take a scene and create so many moments, so many beats, within it. She can switch from anger to empathy to humor in such a subtle manner that we don't even realize it until we find ourselves feeling the same way in the audience. She brings so many layers to Valentine that are all so essential to the telling of her story. The chemistry Chase and Valentine was fantastic. I felt the progression of the relationship was natural and never felt rushed or forced. I found myself rooting for the typical romance ending but I'm actually thrilled it didn't end as such.
Also worth noting, Brad Cowan plays Chase's best friend, and I'd like to think, savior, Brad. Or B-Rad. Cowan's performance was such a touching addition that provided humors d warmth and all of the right moments. My particularly favorite scene had me feeling like an asshole. Chase goes to find Brad and punches him because of a discovery involving Valentine and I was completely rooting for Chase. And then, after some words and recounting of the previous years, I felt like such an ass for wanting to punch Bad. What a wonderful gift he is in Chase's life.
So, all in all, this indie film is brilliant and beautiful, charming and dark at the same time. Definitely check this out. I immediately re-watched it; you might, too. Nahum Ramaswaran has a gift for storytelling. I can't wait to see what's next to come.