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THE INSTITUTE (2022)
Directed and written by Hamza Zaman.
Starring Victorya Brandart, Ignacyo Matynia, Mark Lobene, Jarred Harper, Hamza Zaman, Claire McClain, Louisa Bradshaw, Richard Nwaoko, Joy Donze, John Easterlin, Benjamin Curns, Frankie Wang
Find out more about this film here!
Victorya Brandart and Ignacyo Matynia star as troubled couple Marie and Daniel Sullivan. They are perfectly happy but having difficulty getting pregnant. After all options seem to be useless, they get wind of a medical institute that uses unconventional techniques to promote pregnancy. Though Dr. Arthur Lands (Mark Lobene) uses strange methods, Marie becomes pregnant, but are Marie and Daniel willing to give up everything they love to have a baby?
First off, this film actually has some decent acting in terms of its two leads. Both Victorya Brandart and Ignacyo Matynia are solid, believable, and most importantly likable. I haven’t seen Brandart before, but Matynia starred in the impressively written, no-budgeter LIKE DOGS, released not long ago, and stands out as a strong actor. Both of these performances elevates the material, but they can only do so much.
Despite the leads, THE INSTITUTE is simply a bad, bad movie. I’m sorry to all involved, but man is this a stinker. From its absolutely rudimentary CG effects to the meandering plot to the horribly over the top acting from mad doctor Mark Lobene. There really isn’t much of a story at all. The main problem of the couple is relatable enough but goes nowhere. Suspicions are risen from Marie and Daniel, but they are squashed over and over. There’s no suspense. No real conflict. It’s just the doctor acting crazy and blackmailing people to stay into his program. For some reason, even though they witness the doctor using these unethical and downright illegal measures, the rest of the patients don’t seem to have a problem with it. It’s just a mess of scenes squashed together with little, or no thought put into it—all leading up to an ending so rushed it looks like they simply needed to get the vans back to the rental company and had to quit filming.
Look, I love low budget films, but in most of the ones worth watching, there is a tone that doesn’t take itself too seriously or a palpable love of the genre that can be gleaned simply by watching it. THE INSTITUTE has neither. It tries to come off as highly dramatic. The leads are swinging for the fences in terms of trying to sell their plight. But the whole thing feels like a joyless endeavor to make resulting in a trial to get through. The positives for this one comes from it’s leads. They have talent and will do well next time. That’s about all I can muster in the positive category for this waste of time.
Hey Mark, over the years I’ve read ton of your reviews for lousy low-budget movies where you try to find the positives, which got me wondering: what is the most unheralded, low-budget, no-expectations-going-in type movie that ended up flooring you?
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Tough question. I think the most recent one that surprised me was either one of the BAD BEN movies. But I definitely was surprised by LIKE DOGS, which is a very low budget movie, but had a very surprising story that unfolded in unusual and unpredictable ways. That’s the most recent one, by far. It really surprised me.
You hated a movie! Welcome to the club!!!
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Don’t know if I hated it. But I definitely didn’t like it.