(The Integrity of Joseph Chambers, USA, 2022)
- Genre: Thriller
- Direction: Robert Machoian
- Road map: Robert Machoian
- Cast: Clayne Crawford, Jordana Brewster, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Michael Raymond-James
- Duration: 96 minutes
In our patriarchal world, one of the consequences of the oppressive structure is toxic masculinity. Men also spend a large part of their lives having to prove their manhood, their validity and whether they are truly worthy of belonging to this group. In this, they are subject to ancestral rules of concealment of feelings, exaltation of violence, obligation to provide, sexist conduct and thousands of other things that destroy more than they add. And that, with each passing day, thankfully, make less sense. Robert Machoian’s new film (The Killing of Two Lovers) tells the story of another man who tries to fit in and prove his qualities as a head of the family, a man and an alpha male.
The Integrity of Joseph Chambers accompany this journey. Joe wants to prove his manhood by exercising one of those activities considered to be characteristic of the genre, deer hunting. The difference is that he doesn’t want to wait a week to go with someone else, he wants to do it alone and thus demonstrate his greatness, even with all the appeals and warnings from those who know or do it frequently. The will to look stronger is in the act itself, in the stubbornness and in the details, in the mustache, in the poses before going out, in the speech.
The film does not hide, or rather it would be to say it does not deceive anyone, that all the protagonist’s choices do not have a positive perspective. Still, Machoian makes the tension build. For this, he uses the vastness of the forest and the loneliness of the character, and does not skimp on the use of the soundtrack and music. Anxiety builds up to the climax and the turn of the script, when there is some respite. Not that after that there is any relief in the drama, even if the film loses some of its power, especially when it feels like it needs to leave the place where it really established the nuisance.
While a work so based on character development, the actor’s delivery is fundamental to the success of The Integrity of Joseph Chambers and Clayne Crawford, who was with the director in his last feature, fulfills his role very well. From the man who shows security at first and has this insane desire to prove himself to the world, he goes to despair and degeneration. The meticulous work that manages to establish this journey so well reflects the mark of this social imposition that makes men take paths that matter more to others than to themselves.
In this reality of a world trapped in a destructive patriarchal structure, stories like that of Joseph Chambers are perhaps not so literal, but they are not impossible to happen. There are hundreds of men fumbling through everyday trials, some without even realizing the reason for their actions. And the worst thing is that, even with all the evolution that obviously happened, so much still remains that there is no expectation of change on the horizon.
A big moment
after the shot
[Tribeca Film Festival 2022]
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