What do you get when you try to combine the drama of Tyler Perry and the suspense of the Rainforest Films’ men Robert Hardy and William Packer?
You get a film that has potential but tries too hard to recapture the essence of those men. The movie N-Secure has great potential to make for an interesting story. David, played by Cordell Moore, is a successful Memphis, Tenn., businessman who is obsessed with time.
This character’s flaw is evident from the beginning of the story, when he berates his assistant, Denise, played by Toni Trucks, for being four minutes late to work.
David carries that same stickler for time mentality to his home. His fiancée, Robin, played by Essence Atkins, is either head over heels in love or not very smart to stay with him and tolerate his need to demand that his woman show him respect and consider his time precious.
So far, good stuff to build a good story around.
Where Julius Lewis and Christine Taylor’s script goes awry is when Robin and Isaac, played by Lamman Rucker, get caught up in a moment and engage in heavy petting. Isaac, meanwhile, is engaged to Robin’s best friend, Jill, played by Tempestt Bledsoe.
As in most over-the-top soap operas, Robin and Isaac are crazy enough to make-out in the den of David’s house, where he and Jill catch them almost in the act.
I understand what Lewis and Taylor are trying to accomplish. They want to shock the audience. However, there isn’t enough build in the story to make the audience gasp in horror.
Lewis and Taylor choose to show quick snippets of David’s character and how much of a tight wad, little boy he really is. They should have invested more time in developing the plot and the character.
Likewise, to have screwball David dump Robin and take up with Tina, played by Denise Boutte, cousin of the assistant Denise, in the time span of an hour is not convincing.
What’s even more presumptuous is Lewis and Taylor’s assumption that the audience will believe that David’s deadly obsession with his new girlfriend would be readily explained by Robin’s infidelity.
In essence, N-Secure has all the plot points of a good film. It’s the content that fails to make the right impact.
Plus, the plot has a few holes in it. David constantly alludes to a father that the audience never sees. Such a strong presence in David’s life should be readily visible. Tina continues to stay and forgive David, even though he’s a psychotic brute. Tina’s too smart, beautiful and successful to settle for that — not to mention David’s U.S. Marine background doesn’t play enough of a role to add to the plot.
I will give David M. Matthews his due for trying to make the plot as seamless as possible, given the sketchy script. He tries to give the audience clues. Unfortunately, those, too, don’t make the right impact.
The rest of the cast includes Elise Neal as Leslie and Caryn Ward as Kim — Robin’s gal pals — Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles as Harold, David’s annoying co-worker, and an underused Bernadette Stanis in a cameo as Dr. Heather, Tina’s therapist.
Tina obviously needs a therapist; so does David, for that matter. What I don’t like is that Stanis’ presence is undervalued. Her Dr. Heather surely could have been put to better use.
While the cast performs well enough with the material they have been given, it doesn’t seem enough. The overall feel of the film is rushed. There’s no taking the scenic route on this one. If you blink, you’ll miss a plot point.
It’s not often that Black filmmakers attempt to add a film in the thriller genre. It takes good planning and stellar execution to keep such a thriller from going the way of the cheese. It’s so disheartening to know that a film with such promise and a list of once-prominent black Hollywood elite would underuse its resources.
Even though I am a firm believer in supporting the arts of the African-American community, I have to say that N-Secure, with its horrible title, left much to be desired.
Now, considering the number of you who usually disagree with me on my opinions, I would say that those naysayers may just enjoy this film — if for nothing else than to support the artistry of the Black community.
Kimberly Grant may be reached at KAliciaG@aol.com.