While it may seem like most film critics enjoy writing negative reviews, the truth is that for most of us, especially those of us who cover indie cinema, it's a rather horrifying prospect.
Believe it or not, most of us want indie filmmakers to succeed. While critics like Rex Reed seem to take joy in disparaging films, for those of us centered around the indie world the only time we take any amount of joy in negative reviews is on those rare occasions when a filmmaker's high maintenance ego is unmatched by any semblance of talent.
Such is not the case here. Writer/director Josiah Swanson has obviously made great effort in constructing the indie feature The Taker's Crown, a film that falls short on most levels but must also be admired for Swanson's ambitious vision and willingness to go beyond the budgetary constraints of an ultra-low budget indie.
The film centers around the legendary King Wiglaf, stuck in an era not his own and tasked with tracking down the Titan thief Tome and procuring the Taker's Crown before Tome can obtain and misuse its power for ill purposes.
As noted, The Taker's Crown is a wildly uneven effort with mostly adequate lensing hindered by the film's completely inadequate sound mix and design that dilutes any dramatic impact in multiple scenes throughout the nearly 90-minute film. Intended as a sort of sci-fi/fantasy epic, and rumored to be the first in a series, The Taker's Crown never builds any sense of being an epic and it's shooting locales further complicate matters. While it's certainly acceptable for a local, low-budget indie to feel like a local, low-budget indie, the grander vision the more necessary it is for the production quality to rise up to that vision. In this case, it simply doesn't happen.
While I shan't name names, the truth is that The Taker's Crown feels more like a hobby effort than anything resembling a professional endeavor. The film's acting is across the board wooden and stilted with nary an emotion to be found, though to be fair given the script's overwhelming weakness it's impossible to determine if the problem is really the actors or simply being saddled with undeliverable dialogue.
Truthfully, it's probably both.
It's clear that there's some solid effort here and one certainly hopes for continued growth in future projects. As it is, it's difficult to imagine The Taker's Crown following a festival route and it's doubtful that anyone beyond family and friends will bother to check it out via streaming distribution. For the effort alone, I'll lean toward a 1-star rating and hope for better things in future projects.