Shadow
Mass

Mass

Synopsis:
Aftermath of a violent tragedy that affects the lives of two couples in different ways.
Advertisement

This Review Contains SPOILERS

Two couples meet in a church basement to discuss the aftermath of a violent tragedy in . Jay () and his wife Gail () arrive at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hailey, Idaho. Greeted by church employee Judy (), they are led down to a meeting room set up in the church basement, where they are soon joined by Linda () and her husband Richard (). The two couples are then left alone, as they both express their feelings about a violent tragedy that affected them both.

Mass is the directorial debut of actor Fran Kranz (Dollhouse, The Cabin in the Woods), which is a single-location drama about two couples meeting in a church basement. The film kicks off with a relatively lighthearted prologue, as church employee Judy arrives early to begin preparing for the meeting with her co-worker Anthony (Kagen Albright) and Kendra (Michelle N. Carter), the attorney for one of the couples. However, when the four individuals of Jay, Gail, Linda, and Richard are seated in the meeting room, the focus moves entirely on their very heated discussion.

In my honest opinion, Mass is a film that really should be seen knowing as little as possible about the specifics of this meeting as possible. However, it is also going to be difficult for me to write a review for the film without revealing these details. As such, such I am going to say right now that I thought that Mass was an excellent film and that you really should check it out. If you want to know why and don't mind SPOILERS, then feel free to continue reading this review.

Spoilers beyond this point

Over the course of their conversation, it is slowly revealed that Jay and Gail are grieving the murder of their son, who was killed in a school shooting perpetrated by Linda and Richard's son, who then committed suicide in the aftermath. Jay and Gail are desperate to know if Linda and Richard saw any signs of violent behaviour in their son, who is described as a shy person, who had a habit of playing violent video games.

Mass ends up tackling many questions that come about in the aftermath of school shootings, which have almost a regular occurrence in the United States, in the two decades following the infamous Columbine shootings. One of the most obvious questions asked is that of nature vs nurture and whether the school shooting was the result of bad parenting by Linda and Richard or their son was already predisposed with sociopathic behaviour.

While all four leads give equally emotional performances over the course of Mass, the standouts are undoubtedly Martha Plimpton, probably still best known for being one of the stars of The Goonies 36 years ago, and Ann Dowd, who has great performances in everything from 2012's Compliance to her Emmy-nominated run on The Handmaid's Tale. Both Pimpton and Dowd play grieving mothers on opposite ends of the spectrum and both end up getting a featured moment telling a story about their son, with Dowd's story ending up being the punctuation mark of the entire film.

Overall, despite its very minimalist play-like style that takes place predominantly in a single room of a church basement, Mass is an excellent directorial debut for Fran Kranz, with a dual meaning in the title that shouldn't be lost on viewers.

Mass is now playing in select theatres and is also available on VOD


Trailer for Mass

Become a patron at Patreon!
Advertisement
This post was proofread by Grammarly 

How to Watch Mass

Streaming Offers for Mass

Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Advertisement