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Dressed in his business attire and carrying an expensive briefcase, a marketing executive named Murray is taking a shortcut through an urban park in Toronto. Lost in a secluded area of the park, he gets into an altercation with a teen-aged punk, who unknown to Murray is only one of five - four guys and a girl - in a gang. Running to get away from the gang, Murray has the idea that he will climb up a large tree to hide out until the punks leave. Unfortunately for Murray, they find him in the tree. Initially, Murray believes he has no other alternative but to do what they say. But Murray and the punks soon realize that Murray has some leverage being where he is. This altercation soon becomes a standoff and a test of wills to see who can outlast the other, the standoff which includes both physical and emotional torment on both sides, the latter as each learns more about the other. Written by
Near impossible to turn the TV off during this one
A man named Murray gets into an altercation with a gang after getting lost in a park. The gang then chases him and Murray is forced to hide in a tree. Of course it doesn't take the gang longer than a minute to find him hiding up there (and thankfully it didn't take them longer... that would've made for a poor movie). This is how Treed Murray begins. The rest of the movie takes place over the course of one night, with Murray hiding in the tree, and the gang waiting, taunting, intimidating, and threatening him from down on the ground.
Of course Treed Murray isn't as simple or basic as the plot may lead you to believe. At only 90 minutes long, it manages to be more intriguing, fascinating and brilliant than any movie I think I've seen in the past year. The dialogue, which makes up 95% of the film, is more than enough to carry the entire movie on it's own. On top of that there are amazing performances from all the actors. David Hewlett, who was the best thing about the Canadian show Traders, is in almost every scene as the main character, Murray. He brings so much to the movie and his character. At every point in the movie you sympathize with him, despite his character being a bit of a low life. It seemed like every other scene had some new revelation about Murray that gives you good reason to hate him, yet Hewlett still makes him a likeable guy somehow. If Treed Murray can get as much great exposure as one of Hewlett's earlier movies CUBE got, he could become one of Canada's next big acting exports.
But as brilliant as David Hewlett was in Treed Murray, myself and everyone else who watched it with me thought he was upstaged by Cle Bennett, who plays the gang leader Shark. Bennett is powerful and charismatic, an odd thing for a young and fairly inexperienced actor. One of the questions brought up in the story is why Shark is the leader, and why he makes all the decisions for the rest of the gang. I'm thinking if I knew someone like him, I'd probably do whatever he said too. I hope there's a Director out there looking to hire Bennett, because he has such star potential.
In the end what really works about Treed Murray is it's realism and character development. Even though Murray is the hero of the film, he has many flaws. And even though all the gang members would be clear cut villains in a typical American movie, here they have several redeemable qualities. I loved that all the characters had interesting and honest things to say. Despite the fact they're trying to kill a guy for no reason, I found myself agreeing with so much that they said.
Treed Murray is one of those rare movies that you not only can't turn off once it begins, but you can also watch over and over and over again. I give it 10 out of 10. If I was allowed to give it anything higher, I would. I LOVE this movie.
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