Following closely on the heels of Doug Liman’s swift and engaging Go, of which director Mazzei must be a huge fan, Devious Beings follows Jackson (Andre B. Blake), Arrow (Patrick Van Horn), and Casey (Kevin Connolly), three childhood friends who push X for their supplier, Leo (Joseph Sicari). When their buyer, Tiny (Andre Rosey Brown) unexpectedly dies, they make off with the money and the product. However, dealer Damone (Robert Gossett), who was expecting to get the drugs in the deal, decides to get ev…n with the three friends when he learns that he has been cheated. Throw in a rogue cop (Jerry Doyle) who is blackmailing Jackson by threatening to send his junkie mother to jail if he’s not included in the action, and you have one convoluted plot where tension is always at a high.
Devious Beings has some things working for it. Mazzei seems to have modeled his cast around that of Go, and several actors here will remind you of those from Liman’s film. Andre Blake is strong in the lead, resembling Taye Diggs, while Patrick Van Horn from Swingers (another Liman film) acts and looks like Timothy Olyphant. While the actors may not play characters that mirror those from Go, you will definitely find the cast oddly similar. The same can be said about the writing, which has the action take place at Christmastime, just like Go! Scenes with violence and tragedy are played for humor, and most of the time they work, especially in one particular scene that had me doubling over in laughter. Of all the scenes in this film, this one works to the point of black humor perfection. It is worth the price of rental alone.
However, it’s low budget roots creep into the movie at times, not ruining the experience, but reminding you that you are watching a copycat movie, and an extremely low budget one at that. The boom mike appears so many times that it could have received above-the-title billing. Some dubbing and sound effects are dime store quality and take you out of the movie, if only for a second. Perfectionists or sticklers for detail might be turned off, otherwise the movie is quite rewarding.
From a distance, there aren’t many reasons to recommend Devious Beings. It copies Go to almost sickening effect at times, is extremely low budget, and looks like it was shot underwater. But upon closer examination, the cast is good, some scenes are filled with black humor goodness, and the story, while wholly unoriginal, isn’t boring. If you enjoyed Go or other movies in the genre, then Devious Beings might be worth viewing for the similarities alone.
This movie looks like it was filmed through a dirty aquarium. Colors are drab, blurry, and generic. It was also filmed in 4:3 fullscreen, so even more points will be taken off. I know it’s low budget and about a year and a half old, but it’s high time that independent filmmakers make the transition to high-definition shooting equipment, where image isn’t sacrificed and editing is a breeze resulting in a professional looking movie.
While the Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track fares better than the picture it accompanies, there isn’t much of a margin between the two. There are some good editing sound effects where the fronts are put to good use, but the movie is mostly dialogue, which is handled well. There is no hissing or crackling. However, music is mostly muted and seems distant. Spanish subtitles are included.
This is close to a bare bones disc. We get the trailer and nothing else.
I’ll make no bones about it. Devious Beings is the illegitimate offspring of Go, which can be good or bad depending on how you felt about that film, and originality. The cast is pretty solid and there are some excellent scenes involving black humor, but the picture is extremely gritty, there is nothing rewarding in the sound department, and extras are non-existent. If you are a fan of discovering lesser-known films, then this is definitely worth a look, but fans of high polished Hollywood fare need not apply.
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