Film: The Upper Footage
Written and Directed By: Justin Cole
Marketing is one of the most important aspects of making sure your movie gets seen. Some movies go with the “unload tons of money into ad time on TV” route while others try to do something more viral. The Upper Footage went with the latter marketing strategy and succeeded massively. Many people (including a few news outlets) fell for their scheme of making their movie appear to be a real film with a real death. Unfortunately, the actual movie just does not hold up to the hype.
The Upper Footage is the “recovered footage” from a night of rich white kids partying gone wrong. Beginning with a quest to get cocaine, the night eventually leads back to an apartment where some friends (and one girl that no one knew previously) begin to do line after line of the white stuff. The new girl is found a little later in the bathroom where she OD’d. The remainder of the night is spent disposing of the body, which goes about as well as the rest of the night had.
The main issue with The Upper Footage is how much effort was spent making it seem authentic. This film absolutely feels like a recovered home movie edited down, but therein lies the problem. When was the last time you actually watched a home movie you made? Reality is incredibly boring. Normal people holding cameras do not know a thing about cinematography or keeping a shot steady. Not only that but there are entire scenes where the camera is aimed at nothing at all leaving you with a static shot of a wall or a bag while events happen off-screen.
One thing The Upper Footage has going for it despite its flaws is some stellar acting. The cast may be relatively unknown but they all do a great job of keeping the feel completely believable. Shifts in mood as the night progresses came off as natural. Outbursts and breakdowns after realizing the seriousness of what is going on in the film highlighted the time and meticulousness that must have went in to the casting process and how far into their characters the actors actually dove.
The Upper Footage may go down in cinematic history for its notoriety and marketing. Unfortunately the superb cast and massive effort to make the film as real as possible may have been its downfall. You may find it hard to care about what happens to a bunch of privileged white kids and the authentic style in which the story was told certainly does not help. You can check out The Upper Footage on VOD right now if you want to see what all the hype was about but do not say I did not warn you.
Review written by: Justin Proper