Mother Nature has a way of finding you. If you’re landlocked, tornadoes and wildfires are a concern. If you live on the coast, as I have most of my life, hurricane season is what you look out for.
Because of Charley is a unique drama/comedy that is set against a hurricane hitting an unsuspecting town. Erin Cline (“Veer”, “Cam-Girl”) and Joshua Wade play the roles of Leigh and David, new step-siblings who converge at a home to meet with their diverse family prior to their parents getting married.
Conflict based on race, family history and human behavior soon follow. This stir of emotions is complimented by hurricane Charley, which suddenly changes course and hits Central Florida.
These characters are well written and performed perfectly by an ensemble cast which includes John Amos (“Coming to America”, “Die Hard 2”), Ashley Jones (“Just Another Day”), Joop Katana (“Never Back Down”), Peg O’Keef (“Curse of the Blair Witch”), Clint Robinson and Simon Needham (“Scare Zone”, “Burn Notice (TV)”). I was surprised that Because of Charley delivered some moments of edgy humor which balanced out the drama nicely.
Close attention was also given to the production design to make full use of the premise. The rain and wind effects were well crafted. The movie also uses compelling stock footage that shows the devastating effects of the actual event.
The popular song My Immortal by Evanescence served as an emotional underscore to this footage. In 2004, hurricane Charley carved through Central Florida. This was a category 4 storm which caused $16.9 Billion in damage.
Because of Charley touched upon many of the issues we face while riding out a hurricane. Like the scramble to buy food and other supplies. Doing all you can to secure your home and having flashlights at the ready for when you lose power.
I personally rode out hurricane Irma in 2017 when I lived in Florida, so these elements hit close to home. I remember stacking sandbags outside our exterior doors, filling my bathtub with water and not being able to sleep with the roaring winds outside.
In true indie fashion, the crew behind the scenes held many jobs. Jon Binkowski is the Director/Co-Writer/Producer/Editor, Stephen DeWoody is also a Writer and headed as Art Director. Both in front and behind the lens, everyone did their best work on Because of Charley and it shows.
On the other hand, there are a few lengthy dialogue heavy scenes that play out in one take. This technique can certainly be fun and speed up production speed. But I do not feel it was the right choice here however. If the movie’s more action based or dramatic scenes were done in one take, that would have a greater impact.
Overall, Because of Charley is a well drawn drama centered around a tragic historical event. I was impressed with this movie, especially after seeing many disappointing Florida productions in my day. Because of Charley is currently available to rent/buy on Amazon, iTunes and many other major platforms.
– FULL DISCLOSURE: Curt Wiser, the author of this review is the Writer/Director of the suspense movie Cam-Girl, which actress Erin Cline also stars in.
9th April 2021
THE QUICK SELL
An estranged racially-mixed stepfamily reluctantly gathers at a Central Florida home for an anniversary party, fully intending to keep the visit brief - but Hurricane Charley takes an unexpected turn that changes everything.