PREMATURE EVALUATIONS: THE BARBER 2014 dir. Basel Owies


  Something that I have learned from movies is that I suspect someone of being a killer, I probably shouldn’t blackmail them into having them teach me how they do it. From APT PUPIL to MR. BROOKS to the Dexter television show, this tactic doesn’t usually work out for the blackmailer, but that doesn’t stop them from trying in ARC Entertainment’s latest release, THE BARBER.

Starring Scott Glenn, it follows the story of a man accused of a string of murders in the early 90’s, who is released due to lack of evidence and the actions of a cop that went a little too far to arrest him. To move on, the suspect moves to a different town and changes his name, quietly becoming the town barber Eugene and an active community member. 

Twenty years later, Eugene is approached, rather violently, by a young man named John played by Chris Coy (most people will recognize him as Martin on The Walking Dead). John claims to know who Eugene really is, and rather than threatening to turn him in, asks him to be his mentor and teach him how to kill and get away with it. Eugene plays dumb to the point that he gets stabbed, when the town sheriff (the amazing Stephen Tobolowsky, MEMENTO, GROUNDHOG DAY) comes across their rendezvous. 

Eugene opts not to press charges and tracks down John, leaving him high and dry miles from town. As he’s walking back, John is picked up by an attractive waitress that he ran into earlier. He takes this opportunity as a way to impress Eugene and prove that he’s serious in his request.

What follows is a mental cat and mouse game as we are clued into the ulterior motives behind John’s actions, and we are sent down numerous paths questioning if Eugene really is a killer or if he’s just fishing John along.

Played well by both leads, THE BARBER leaves you curious and guessing throughout. Just when you think it may get obvious, there is another slight twist to make you second guess yourself. And having Tobolowsky involved, even in a minor role, elevates things a bit, allowing Glenn to recede into his role and Coy to play up against another strong actor.

If you are a fan of dark dramas with a thriller aspect, especially the ones I mentioned earlier, then you should get a kick out of THE BARBER.

THE BARBER is now available on DVD through ARC Entertainment. 

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