Beneath Contempt

Posted January 28, 2011 in
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The aftermath from drunk driving serves as the starting point for the film "Beneath Contempt"

Beneath Contempt
Slamdance Film Festival
Dir: Benjamin Brewer


One mistake behind a wheel while driving can end more than your own life as this feature portrays within the moral obstacle course of blame and death post-manslaughter. Three dead teens and one teen left to blame make for compelling storytelling in this engaging work. Director Benjamin Brewer lets his film breathe and his actors visibly squirm under the camera’s eye. It seems almost documentary like in its pacing and cinema vérité approach. The action takes place in a small Maine town and focuses on the repercussions of a young man’s release after hail time for a D.U.I. he caused while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. The accident scene is quite convincing and the performances even more so. It is sometimes painful to watch the lead actor (Colin Janson) as he deals with the destruction he caused in the lives of four families—his own included. The film hangs with a question at the end. Will one of the victim’s families do right by the boy who accidentally killed their son or will they do worse and knowingly ruin him? A powerful bundle of emotions confronting culpability, the legal system and forgiveness are trotted out and none resolved neatly, making for one of the best feature debuts we’ve seen at Slamdance.

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The aftermath from drunk driving serves as the starting point for the film "Beneath Contempt"