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Clayne Crawford delivers another great performance in The Integrity of Joseph Chambers
Clayne Crawford reunites with director Robert Machoian who he collaborated on The Killing of Two Lovers, and his Lethal Weapon costar, Jordana Brewster, in The Integrity of Joseph Chambers from Gravitas Ventures.
Joseph Chambers (Crawford), a successful insurance salesman and devoted husband, aims to acquire the skills that will enable him to provide for his family in case of an apocalypse. For the first time in his life, he decides to go deer hunting alone for the very first time in his life, despite the objections of his wife. In his search for deer, Joe sets out into the mountains with a borrowed rifle and wanders aimlessly through the woods, searching for anything he can find.
A few moments later, however, Joe’s boredom is short-lived, and he is suddenly subjected to a traumatic experience in a flash. What started as an experiment to prove himself as a capable father and husband turns into a nightmare. Joe finds himself faced with a terrible choice that he must make.
I’ve been a fan of Clayne Crawford going back to his role as Dean in the 2002 tear-jerker A Walk To Remember. While Crawford had roles here and there, when he appeared in the television adaptation of the action franchise Lethal Weapon, the mainstream audience started to notice.
Similar to his role in The Killing of Two Lovers, Crawford strips away his alpha male bravado to portray more of a beta male. In the film’s opening moments, there’s a quick dialogue establishing that moving to his wife Tess’s hometown (Jordana Brewster) may not have been in the best interest of his family. Tess reassures her husband that he doesn’t need to hunt to prove his love for his family, but it falls on deaf ears.
When Joepsh reaches the woods, the film turns into a slow-burn character study. Initially, there are some humorous moments for Crawford as he is alone in his thoughts. Once that fateful moment occurs, things are taken up a notch, with Crawford giving a master class in acting. His performance is powerful and heartbreaking, conveying the feelings of isolation and fear of being lost in an unfamiliar environment. Through his portrayal, Crawford brings the audience along for his journey, and we can feel the desperation and panic of being surrounded by the unknown.
Make no mistake, this film belongs to Crawford, but the supporting cast, particularly Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jordana Brewster, in their brief moments, add substance. Peter Albrechtsen’s sound design and score create a sense of suspense and unease as Joe’s psychological state is gradually revealed. Wide shots also frame Joe in a way that emphasizes his loneliness and isolation after the incident, as he is often seen in an empty and barren landscape. The music further heightens the tension and creates a feeling of dread and foreboding, even when, on the surface, not much appears to be happening.
Crawford and Machoian have worked together before and have developed a strong understanding of each other’s styles. Their chemistry is so evident in The Integrity of Joseph Chambers. I hope audiences take to the film and see future collaborations with larger budgets.
Final Grade: B
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