The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review-Between Heaven and Hell

By Joshua Knopp/entertainment editor

It’s difficult to be hard on a movie paid for by the writer/producer/star out of his own pocket, but when so little is known about DVDs that the makers of this direct-to-DVD promise subtitles as one of their special features, it raises some flags.

Particularly when it doesn’t deliver on the promise of subtitles.

The DVD in question, Between Heaven and Hell, is just awful. The film begins when Mike Taylor (Marvin Faulkner) passes out drunk behind a Dumpster, barely waking up to witness a prostitute murdered though he doesn’t get a look at the killer. He reports this two days later to detective Steve McGill (Jeff Wallin), whom the audience knows as the murderer.

The movie is a two-hour soap opera with particularly bad acting and direction. Every scene in the second act carries itself as if it were the one right before the coup de grace, every one a major watershed moment, to the point that the main character has three religious breakdowns within a half-hour of film time. Minor characters are speed-developed upon introduction so they can be involved in such scenes. And when the coup de grace is reached, it is immeasurably dull and illogical. Even the camera quality reflects a soap opera.

One look into the crew makes it easy to see why the movie is as bad as it is. Assistant director Ali Faulkner is Marvin’s daughter and a singer in real life. Director Jason Ward got the job after Marvin met him at one of his daughter’s photo shoots. The editor, Johnn Hudson, is actually Faulkner’s insurance agent. Worst of all is Faulkner himself, writer, producer and lead actor. In real life, he’s a doctor.

The cast holds the only two experienced filmmakers in the entire movie, both of them in relatively small roles. The rest of the cast features the primary antagonist Wallin in his feature film debut, Faulkner’s other child and a dentist. They must have really wanted the dentist − they waited 10 months during filming for her to have twins.

Despite the horrible quality and extreme lack of experience in the crew, the changes that could have turned this into a good movie are many but minor. Altering the script to be more focused on the main characters, changing the tone of scenes so that they’re not all trying to be “Oscar moments” and getting a better cast, crew and camera wouldn’t have been much to ask for if a larger production company was contacted. While there is something to be said for creative independence, it falls on deaf ears when the people who maintain it are bad artists.

Everyone involved, Faulkner in particular, put a great deal into this movie. Maybe someone with more money and experience will see it, get the rights and turn it into a legitimate film. But for now, Between Heaven and Hell represents the work of the little engine that couldn’t.

Final take: A terrible movie

Those who would enjoy it: The family of those involved in the production

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian