We are getting to the point in our country where everyone will have either been a witness to a mass shooting or will know someone who has (or worse, known a victim).
If you don’t believe me, well you will, because I was at NIU on Valentine’s Day in 2008 when a shooter killed five students before taking his own life.
Any form of mass shooting I hear about hits home for me (there was just one a few weeks ago at a mall not far from my home, which thankfully did not have any fatalities).
This all said, I would not blame people for skipping the movie Mass, the directorial and writing debut of Fran Kranz. The set-up is (quite literally) simple, as two sets of parents are meeting in a room at a local church. It has been six years since Jay (Jason Isaacs) and Gail’s (Martha Plimpton) lost their son in a school shooting. They have agreed to meet in a simple room at the local church with the parents of the culprit, Richard (Reed Birney) and Linda (Ann Dowd).
What they talk about is simply real. The dialogue is cold, blunt, and cuts deep. Yet even before the heavy material is discussed, we get the sense that they have indeed met before. Kranz is wise enough to take his time in the script before getting to the things that stick with you long after the credits role.
He also is smart to not get too political. The idea of gun rights is brought up, but it is far from the point of the film. The point is how, despite the many differences in their circumstances, these couples are just trying their hardest to move on.
It is virtually impossible to single out the stand alone performance, as each actor brings the perfect amount of gravitas and humanity to their characters (although from what I have heard, the one with most promise at awards consideration would be Dowd.) Admittedly, I was not familiar with many of the actors going in other than Jason Isaacs (he was in the Harry Potter films) and Martha Plimpton (who, once upon a time, was a part of The Goonies). In the end, each of the four give some of the best work they have done.
Parents, despite the gargantuan intense material, the MPAA has given the film a PG-13 rating. This is mainly for swearing. I’m not sure if a movie like this is enough to persuade a child not to do horrific acts as the ones described in the film (as well as what we hear of too much in the news), so I leave that to you.
I close with a note to any politicians that may be reading this. First, thank you for reading (I did not know my audience included politicians, which I must admit is pretty cool.) Second, if you ever want me to vote for you, then watch this film and get back to me.