The Mentor (2020)

thementor

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An aspiring filmmaker gets more than she bargains for in this feature film debut of indie filmmaker Moez Solis.

Nilah Williams has aspirations of becoming a filmmaker. Despite her dream, she finds herself locked out of the system. When she invites herself to a producer’s workshop at a local library, she is enthralled when she meets her idol, director extraordinaire Claire Adams. However, Nilah’s dream meeting soon becomes a nightmare when she and Claire are kidnapped by four mysterious people wearing masks.

Nilah and Claire soon find themselves in an abandoned building with Mr. Owl, Mr. Raven, Mr. Emu, Mrs. Hawk, and Mr. Pigeon. As Claire attempts to hatch a plan to escape, she also finds herself mentoring Nilah in the ways of becoming a filmmaker. However, Mr. Owl has kidnapped Claire in order to secure financing for his latest film. However, as the day goes by, some dark truths are revealed and soon the nightmare only becomes more real. Will Nilah be able to help both herself and her new mentor, or will her dreams of becoming a filmmaker come to a crashing halt?

Filmmaker Moez Solis makes his feature film debut with this tale that starts out as somewhat a standard kidnapping film but soon delves in a series of twists and turns that make great use of its 74-minute running time. The story of an aspiring filmmaker and her titular mentor, a top director whose films are known but not with too much merit. There are many references to classic genres, styles, and directors such as Werner Herzog, Dada and German expressionism to name a few when we see Claire, despite the predicament she finds herself in, attempts to continue mentoring Nilah.

Brandi Nicole Payne gives out quite the performance as Nilah, who we see in the opening of the film, sneak her way to a producer’s workshop and have futile attempts to mingle. However, it is when Nilah meets her idol, Claire, played by Liz Sklar, that things briefly take a happy turn. And then the madness begins with the kidnapping and that’s where things go from zero to a hundred. Interestingly enough, the kidnappers all show different personalities.

Mike Bash’s Mr. Owl is the ringleader of the group who is determined to get his film made one way or another. Michael James Kelly’s Mr. Raven is the quiet one of the group. Santiago Rosas’ Mr. Emu is the most sympathetic of the group, even apologizing to both Nilah and Claire at times while Julia Lockhart’s Mrs. Hawk and Corey Jackson’s Mr. Pigeon are a couple with the latter having some psycho tendencies when she has a “talisman” in the form of a sword and if needed, is not afraid to use them.

The twists and turns throughout the film are the piece de resistance. As we delve more into the film, we not only get more about the characters in question, but we learn more about the kidnappers’ attempts to make their film. It gets only crazier and at times, a bit of shock. However, it all leads to an unforgettable finale that will leave you jaw-dropping.

The Mentor is a great film for cinephiles with the many references to classics as well as its story that as it goes on, continues to thrill with its twists and turns along with the unforgettable ending. This is an excellent feature film debut for filmmaker Moez Solis.

WFG RATING: A

Indie Rights presents A Wind in the City and Legacy Productions film. Director: Moez Solis. Producer: Moez Solis. Writer: Moez Solis. Cinematography: Matthew Boyd. Editing: Kate Geaghan.

Cast: Brandi Nicole Payne, Liz Sklar, Mike Bash, Matthew James Kelly, Santiago Rosas, Julia Lockhart, Corey Jackson.

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