Frankie Ducane (Jessi Gotta) is a woman on a mission. When we meet her, she is searching for a man for reasons unexplained. Her search has evidently been a lengthy one and she is now tired, struggling to concentrate and clearly in need of a break. This is why she ends up sitting in a slightly run-down bar and its here that she meets Molly (Jessica Savage).
Molly is a barfly with a painful history. This pain she tries to cover with ill-temper and an aggressive sense of humour but – against the odds – she and Frankie begin to form a friendship.
I have to admit that I did find the cinematography a little distracting in some of these scenes. It had a deliberately washed out feel which, while fitting the mood of the film, did draw attention to itself somewhat.
Its possible, though, that this gripe merely reflects the strength of the developing relationship between Frankie and Molly. This moves, slowly and cautiously, from an initial distrust towards a recognition of shared experiences in a manner that is both believable and increasingly engaging. Both Jessi Gotta and Jessica Savage deserve a great deal of credit for the way in which they bring their characters to life and I found myself both wanting to know how things would develop and not wanting to be distracted from this.
Then, at about 27 minutes in, the plot threads begin to come together and we start to get an inkling of what genre of film this really is.
To say The Big Bad is a well constructed film would be an understatement. The script is very effectively focussed on placing layer upon layer in order to build a story that is increasingly detailed, increasingly complex and endlessly fascinating.
This is a film that does demand that you pay attention, and one in which small details invariably become significant. Keeping up is made very easy, though, by the superb performance from Jessi Gotta whose very natural screen presence keeps you invested in the character throughout.
It is because you become so invested in the character of Frankie that when the film veers into being a horror film, it becomes very horrific indeed,. So much so that some of the scenes are truly painful to watch.
While I wasnt too keen on the cinematography in the earlier parts of the film I do have to concede that, as the film wears on, it becomes a lot less distracting and starts to make a lot more sense. Indeed, by the end of the film, it feels like we have fallen into a surreal nightmare and the palate used contributes immensely to this.
The Big Bad is a mystery and its a horror film. These two genres are merged in a way that expect you to pay attention and makes it easy for you to do so, There is also so much going on, and so much that is implied, that this is also a film that will undoubtedly reward repeat viewings.