Definitely an original story, and the usual good acting you can expect from Martin Donovan.
PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMA/ THRILLER
Written, directed and starred by Martin Donovan centering on a situation, he plays screenplay writer Robert Longfellow who upon coming home to visit his mother for reasons unclear. But for the first 30 or 40 minutes into the film Robert revaluate old times including a publicized widowed actress who he still has feelings for. And then his neighbor Gus (David Morse) who lives across the street from him takes him hostage.
I liked the bonding scenes when Robert converses with Gus about how to become a successful screenwriter, but the ending is a real downer which the center character leaves viewers somewhat wanting to know more.
2 out of 4 stars
Part of the reason that this movie doesn't fit nicely into the mold of so many critics is that it comes across ironically like one of writer/director Martin Donovan's own personal works. It takes place within the confines of one set--the home of Robert's mother. Most of the pair's time is spent in the home's living room. Through their discussions, one can infer that having known each other through the better part of each other's lives, there is perhaps some jealousy on the part of Gus toward Robert because of Robert's success. Yet through that jealousy, audiences still see a certain bond between the pair that makes for an intriguing dichotomy. This mix of personalities eventually leads the pair to a final climactic moment that will ultimately leave audiences' completely surprised and shocked by the story's end.
For the drama inside the house, one can't help but laugh at the seeming social commentary on the general public toward instances such as the standoff. Both Gus and Robert's mother sit outside the house waiting the next developments. At times, their mouths hang agape, eyes wide. It represents what so much of the public does at such cases. Perhaps the funniest moment shared outside the house comes when Robert's mother pulls out her asthma inhaler, proceeds to use it and then is offered a cigarette by one of her friends. It's all audiences can do to laugh at the irony. It's one more aspect that makes this underrated and underappreciated story worth at least one watch by anyone that has enough of an open mind.
"Collaborator" is a movie that defly defies expectations and cliches by taking a low key approach to the material. The lone exception is a remarkable emotional explosion that one character has kept pent up for decades to thankfully express an opinion which I have also been waiting a long time for somebody else to bring up, even if it has to come from a character who is so smug. Since they were shaped in different ways by the same incident, Robert probably looks at Gus in a 'there but for the grace of you-know-who, go I' kind of way; clues to which are slowly revealed throughout the movie. In other words, Robert cannot escape his past, just as his present is unraveling, despite his success in life.