CAPSULE: The fictional Allen Bradley wants to make a documentary about Mark Chambers, once a pro-football hero now separated from his family with his life on the skids. Chambers agrees to be filmed for one day and hints that there is something unexpected that will make it a pivotal day to capture on film. Writer Christopher Allen Nelson keeps the viewer guessing where the script is going. Its destination tells the viewer a lot about Mark. Eddie Conna directs a film that questions what really constitutes heroics. Warning: there is some blood and brutality in the latter parts of the film. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
Digital video has promised to make films less expensive to produce and to enable more creative filmmakers to express fresh ideas. Filmed on video in Los Angeles but set in the streets of Pittsburgh, HERO OF THE DAY is an unassuming small independent film that tells a reasonably engaging story on what looks like it could have been done on a minimal budget with handheld cameras.
Allen Bradley (played by Paul Dietz) is an aspiring documentary filmmaker who intended to make a film about one-time football star Mark Chambers (Mo Anouti). Mark was once a football legend, but has fouled up much of his own life off the gridiron. Mark is strongly ambivalent about being filmed. One moment he is cooperative, the next he is obstinate and belligerent. Mark had strived for fame and got it through football. But he has discovered that after his exhilarating high point, his life has had to go on and perhaps has been mismanaged.
Allen wants to film Mark for one typical day. Mark agrees but keeps hinting that the day he has chosen may not be typical at all. Mark has been fighting depression after the court separated him from his wife and son. Once well paid he now needs money desperately. The big day starts prosaically enough until Mark shares that he is going to sell what must be his most prized possession. He is going to sell his championship ring to pay bills. As Allen follows Mark around there seems to be more and more evidence that Mark may be getting very desperate and perhaps a little unhinged. Mark shares that for months he has been trying to track down a man he has seen sitting in a car at a local grade school. Mark guesses that this man is a child molester. His hints about what is going to happen that day get progressively darker and take on a feeling of finality.
Christopher Allen Nelson's script based on ideas suggested by its star, Anouti, keeps the viewer guessing just where the story might be going. There may be logic problems with the conclusion of the film. Director Edward Conna co-directed a zombie film previously. This is his second film entirely on his own. Most of his work has been as a stuntman and not a director. Perhaps that is why he lets one action scene late in the film to go on what seems to be too long. Producer and star Mo Anouti is a champion body-builder- turned-actor. He does have personality on the screen. Perhaps this film will remind the viewer of Darren Aronofsky's THE WRESTLER (2008). His character, Mark, has several parallels to the Mickey Rourke character in THE WRESTLER. I rate HERO OF THE DAY a +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10. HERO OF THE DAY is on DVD currently and will be on VOD October 23.
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2177400/combined
Mark R. Leeper
Copyright 2014 Mark R. Leeper