ninth symphony films - movie reviews

TRACK 16 (2000)

DIRECTOR  -  mick mccleery


GENRE  -  suspense

LENGTH  -  90 minutes

RELEASED  -  2000


OFFICIAL SITE  -  track 16

track 16 - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from track 16 at

buy the dvd from track 16 at

paul matthews, a singer/songwriter, records a murder during a recording session and becomes the lead suspect in a murder case.

filmed in various locations in new jersey and pennsylvania.


picture from track 16


three out of four possible stars

After a somewhat rocky start, Track 16 falls easily into a familiar groove, making the film an interesting combination of unique ideas and standard hollywood techniques that creates an entertaining, if sometimes off-beat, thriller. The small budget notwithstanding, the filmmakers of Track 16 attempt to mimic the sensibility of a large budget movie and though there are a few shortfalls, this film is successful on most levels. The first thing one notices about the film (after a peculiar Full Monty style opening) is how well the docu-drama style camera work blends with the story material.

The plot of the film concerns a singer-songwriter who, after working late to record a few tracks, finds that he's recorded the sounds of a murder on one of the tracks (hence, the title). The film begins with a particularly dark tone and the hand-held style camera work fits the mood projected throughout the rest of the film. This film also has a unique way of communicating to the audience the backstory and current thoughts of its main character, "Paul Matthews." After Matthews has been brought in to the police station for questioning, the cops leave him alone to stew for a few minutes and the character discusses out loud what has happened.

But the creative bit is that matthews is speaking with a clone of himself. What could be considered an inner monologue for the character is brought out of matthews's mind so that a long series of voice-overs or complicated flashbacks are not required. And, interestingly, the conversations Matthews has with himself include some of the best minutes in the film. The film moves forward plot-wise, but also gives the audience a chance to learn about Matthew's character. It's a prime example of a film not stopping in its tracks to explain the backstory of a few characters, thereby sacrificing the flow of the movie.

But every scene isn't as polished as that interrogation room section. One of the pitfalls this film runs into is in its editing. While it is coherent for much of its running time, there are scenes where characters have long periods of dialogue that don't necessarily blend in with the film or move the plot along. It seems as though some of these spurts of dialogue might have been improvised on the set. But even if this is the case, the editing of the film should have chopped off a few minutes worth of these scenes.

In particular, there is a scene in a bar where one of the band members speaks for quite an extended amount of time about his supposed ability to fight an animal. His ability is called into question by his band-mates a few times and the scene meanders a bit in places. The conversation seems somewhat extemporaneous, since what the man reveals doesn't really come into play during the rest of the film. There are other areas of the film as well which beg to be edited with a firmer hand. It might be a combination of the meandering story and the gregarious nature of some of the actors, but a few scenes could have been analyzed more closely to determine if their content advanced the film.

Track 16 succeeds more with its basic story, than in editing. But limitations in editing are lessened by the documentary look and feel of the film. The art of documentary filmmaking is a very forgiving one. And this movie should still be viewed as a good example of professional filmmaking on a limited budget. The story is interesting, with an entertaining "reveal" of who the bad guy is near the end of the film. Track 16 has the ability to show-up a large amount of more generously funded hollywood pictures. There's a lot of intelligence behind the picture, and despite a few stumbles, the film is a dramatic success and an entertaining hour and a half.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs mick mccleery 2000
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