The Misguided (2018)

After getting mixed into something with his brother Wendel, Levi must find a way to help his brother and not lose Sanja, his new girlfriend with whom he is planning to leave town.

Writer/director Shannon Alexander crafts a tale of the people who get in too deep in the drug world of Perth by creating a story more about the people than the drugs.  The characters created here are simple, regular people who just have a knack for getting themselves in less than ideal situations.  The characters here are part of two families, brothers with one of them being a drug dealer and sisters and their parents affected by one of them dating these brothers one after the other.  The connections run deep, but the lack of other characters besides very minor secondary ones limits the film’s scope.  This is both a good and a bad thing here as it keeps the story intimate, but it also makes it feel like something is missing, like everything happens in a bubble without any outside influences.  This seems to hinder the story a bit as it has a very small scope and it doesn’t feel all that engrossing.

The characters themselves are decently written and the cast of actors chosen for them does fairly good work, except for a couple of moments here and there that are touch cringe-worthy but ultimately can be forgiven.  The leads of Levi and Sanja are played by Caleb Galati and Jasmine Nibali respectively, with both of them giving good performances that render their characters believable and makes them easy to watch go through the film’s story.  Playing Sanja’s father (or was it step-father) is Athan Bellos who gives the best performance of the film, giving his character more depth and a strong impact when he is on screen.  The rest of the cast is decent, but just so, nothing really jumps out of their performances which is unfortunate as there is a lot of room for all the characters to be more marking, more impactful.

The film’s cinematography and editing are by its writer/director, Shannon Alexander, and both are well done.  The film’s look is consistent, which may be due to the same person doing most everything on the film.  This does allow for their vision to be fully fleshed out and completely controlled.  This does lead to a film that is even and keeps its pace after establishing it.  This way of shooting and editing does bring coherence and a sense of it being one vision, but here it also cuts out the chance of having new ideas brought to the table by others.  It doesn’t make the film lose any interest, but it also leads to a less than exciting result.  It’s good, but it feels like it’s missing something.

The Misguided is a film about the brother of a drug dealer and his new girlfriend.  Where one would expect this to bring all kinds of action or excitement, it does not.  It’s a character study, but it doesn’t go very deep, feeling like it’s holding back.  It’s a decent movie but not one that is all that memorable.  It is possibly the most nonchalant drug film seen in a long time.  The acting is good, especially in the leads, with one performance really catching the eye by actor Athan Bellos.  The film is one that is easy to watch, but also, unfortunately, easy to forget.