Juggernaut has an element it excels in – troubled characters gradually bringing their brooding funk to an explosive spill. I’d like to believe writer/director Daniel DiMarco is aware of how his film works, but the filmmaker consistently sidesteps around this area of strength. I don’t think DiMarco is clueless, but he’s making too much trouble for himself to seek out a challenge.
DiMarco’s Juggernaut matches the intensity of last year’s late arrival Sweet Virginia. In Sweet Virginia, a menacing drifter created an uncomfortable energy for a lowly motel manager before true intentions were revealed. Instead of two strangers, Juggernaut makes the plot a family issue. Hothead Saxon (Jack Kesy) is reeling from his mother’s suicide, but suspects foul play around the incident. His wayward, more mature brother Dean (David Cubitt) is pulled into Saxon’s conspiracy as it engulfs his relationship with his fiancée Amelia (Chokeslam’s Amanda Crew).
Saxon is the film’s most riveting character, and DiMarco utilizes this role well to draw movie goers further into Juggernaut’s taut story. When the film slows down for the story, the filmmaker strings his audience along but doesn’t realize when to stop. Tedium sets in as long-winded dialoguing replaces the daunting aesthetics of what interested viewers in the first place.
Juggernaut will give viewers sweaty palms, but their attention will wane.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie