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Zack Parker's Proxy - Meet the New Psychological Thriller on the Block

Zack Parker's Proxy 
Meet the New Psychological Thriller on the Block

If I ask you to think of stories that are shocking and full of unexpected twists or stories that are full of deeply flawed characters, what would you think of?  If you are like me, you’d probably think of films by Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, or even Quentin Tarrentino.  That is exactly the class of film that Proxy belongs to. Yes, it‘s a bold claim, but after watching the film and feeling the lasting impression it left, it is well deserved.

Writer/Director Zack Parker set out to create a film that puts flawed human beings front and center. It seems that every major character in the film suffers from a major form of mental illness.  It goes a step further, as they don’t just suffer from these disorders; they seem to be a physical manifestation of their illness. With afflictions ranging from depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder, the entire cast of characters makes the film compelling to watch. If you ever needed a film that showed the value of professional help in the area of mental illness, this is it.

Without giving away too much of the plot, the story is about relationships and how individuals deal with loss.  It delves into how we deal with it privately (in our most personal relationships) and how we deal with it in our public relationships.  Make no mistake, the loss each character has to deal with is devastating, and it will challenge the viewer in ways they might not be prepared for. The opening of the film is especially difficult; as the film progresses and the truth behind the scene come to light, it’s even more troubling to come to terms with.  For me, as a parent, there are numerous scenes that forced me to deal with some of my greatest fears.  That being said, it takes a unique film to create this kind of deep introspection, and Parker and the rest of the cast and creative team should be praised for that. 
The production of the film also helps reinforce the unease created in the script. The lack of soundtrack in many of the scenes helps to create a sense of isolation for the characters. This sense of isolation is reinforced by the fact there are no excess people in the film. Every character that has been cast is there intentionally and serves a purpose. This is clearly a decision to visually cement the fact that these people are alone in their world.    One of the more powerful decisions was leaving a key moment off screen and forcing your mind to imagine what was happening. This was especially impactful for me since it was the scene that targeted my biggest fear. To know it was playing out in the film is one thing, but to create the visualization for yourself is an entirely new level of intense. You can always turn your eyes away from the screen, but you can’t so easily turn your mind away.

While the writing and directing is solid and quite good, the film would fall flat without a great cast.  The entire cast does remarkably well with the material and at no point does it feel like there is a weak link. The two leads of the film, Alexa Havins and Alexia Rasmussen, are fantastic in what are both very difficult roles. For me, though, the two actors that I connected with the most were Joe Swanberg and Kristina Klebe.  Both characters initially seem like the most normal and sane ones in the film until the events of the film transform them into hurt and damaged people.  As a father I couldn’t help but see the transformation that Patrick’s character goes through and think, “There but for the grace of God go I”. It is that kind of impact that truly unique films have and why this one has stuck with me.


The final thing that needs to be understood is that this is an incredibly intense film. It is a psychological thriller that will hit you to the core of your being. This film may not be for everyone, and, at times, it can be very difficult to watch. But for those who like movies that stick with you, that keep you guessing, and also make you take a good long look at yourself - this one is for you.  Zack Parker and the rest of those responsible for Proxy did an amazing job, and I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us. Check out the trailer: Now Rent or Buy the Film! iTunes - HERE
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