The Mortician, written and directed by Gareth Maxwell Roberts is a beautifully crafted example of emotionally powerful cinema. The film stars Method Man as a reclusive mortician. Who’s life becomes turned upside down after a chain of events starting with receiving a new porter in the form of an ex-convict named Noah played by E.J. Bonilla. Soon after the body of a young woman with a tattoo of Venus arrives at the morgue and a young boy played by Cruz Santiago starts to repeatedly try to gain access to the building. Meanwhile a local gang leader played by Dash Mihok begins hassling the mortician each day asking if he has seen the young boy around setting the pieces into place to send the soft spoken mortician on a life changing journey that will ultimately force him to face a inner demon that has haunted him since childhood, forcing him out of his defensive shell created out of pain and loneliness.
The first twenty minutes of this film are spent almost solely on character development of the mortician; we are given small glimpses into his day-to-day routines and personality. Quickly you forget its even Method Man on screen and only see the character himself due to his immensely believable performance. A lot of this development is done without dialog due to the reclusive nature of Method Man’s character and instead portrayed through very visually descriptive scenes, often supported by excellent use of music that is relevant to the story, as well as ambient sounds to perfectly create the mood of each scene.
After getting to know the mortician, the movie creeps into the main plot as each of the previously mentioned events start to connect in a very fluent fashion. Watching the mortician grow as the movie progresses from an almost emotionless robot into a big hearted kind human being is nothing shy of breath taking. This film really shines when it comes to invoking a response in the viewer, I found myself continuously becoming genuinely moved by the story that was unfolding in front of me.
The writing is unbelievable in terms of high quality, the relationships between each of the main characters come together so perfectly, and authentic feeling that it is nearly impossible to not feel for their situation. This is especially true when it comes to the relationship between the mortician and Noah, at first, he can only see Noah as a criminal, and in return, Noah only sees the mortician as another person who does not care or understand who he really is or about his situation. The age-old message of never judge a book by its cover is one of many messages one could walk away with after viewing the movie. Each of the plot twists is pulled off flawlessly and the use of subtle hints through out the films build up form the perfect set up for the ending causing me to walk away completely rocked by the power of the films message.
I briefly mentioned the use of music relevant to the story earlier, this is a aspect that continues through out the film and ends up creating one of the best movie soundtracks I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. This is one of those rare movies where the music does not feel like its just there for the sake of being there but instead honestly ads to the overall telling of the story.
While the movie does feature a fair amount of imagery that some may find disturbing it falls more into the category of a gritty drama over any of the other genres it splashes over into. I think many horror fans will also be able to appreciate the macabre and somber tone the film takes on, a very interesting way to tell a story of redemption that is both unique and engaging.
The Mortician really turned out to be a total package flick for me, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I know the year is not over yet, but as of right now I would say there is a high chance that this is the best movie I have watched this year and it may of dethroned The Crow as my personal favorite in general.