Sofya Nova, Timothy J. Cox, Tatyana Yassukovich
Wilder Carnes, Dante Iannetta
"Vera" a Mostly Ineffective Dramatic Mystery Short
There's rarely a month that goes by that I don't see a Timothy J. Cox film cross my desk. While I don't review all of Cox's films, timing being the biggest factor, the truth is I've reviewed quite a few of them and find myself constantly intrigued by the constantly working journeyman. He's an actor whose unafraid to try just about anything and this has led him down the road to quite a few successes and the occasional misfire that leaves you mumbling "Okay, I get why he was intrigued by the project...but."
Vera is a rare Cox misfire, a film with ambitious aims that never quite gels together to create nearly the film that it wants to be.
In the film, a young Russian woman (Sofya Nova) has a booze-fueled fling with an older American businessman (Cox). Running out of options herself, she opts to follow him back to the United States where she finds herself at a dinner party with his fiercely protective, icy cold older sister (Tatyana Yassukovich).
Let's just say the two don't hit it off.
There's a brilliant film trying to rise to the surface of this Dante Iannetta directed short, though Vera simply isn't it.
Vera desperately needs an uncomfortable paranoia to really sell itself, an immersion between Vera and Cox's Jack that never quite takes hold as the relationship between them never feels remotely authentic. We feel way more sympathy for Vera than we ought, while Jack's actions never quite make sense. The film's strongest selling point is the performance of Tatyana Yassukovich, whose performance at least radiates some understanding of what actually should be unfolding here even if it never actually does unfold here.
All three of these performers seem strong, though simply not with this material. The script, credited to both Iannetta and Wilder Carnes, feels more like a work-in-progress that needed a couple more drafts to flesh out underlying tensions and intentions.
A decent film that never quite takes advantage of its atmosphere and intrigue, Vera is an intriguing first effort from Iannetta and it'll be interesting to see where the first-time filmmaker goes from here. For more information on the film, visit its official IMDB page linked to in the credits.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic