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[Review] The Protokon (ADL Productions, 2014)

Will you be good or bad? Will you be virtuous or evil? If you had to choose a side, which one would it be? Light or darkness?
Most of you would probably answer: light, good, virtuous. But what, if you can’t see the shades of grey, if you can’t see the shadows creeping up on you and consuming you all over. What, if you can’t distinguish light from darkness anymore?

James Tain is a young man, who is entirely satisfied and blessed with life. His fiancé Dawn means the world to him and he loves her more than anything. But a dark day destroys everything he has. It turns him into a broken man, a silent man, a man driven by the thought of revenge.
And the chance for his revenge is given to him by a mysterious source.

James Tain (Mark Mattson) is determined to get his revenge (picture courtesy of ADL Productions)
James Tain is determined to get his revenge [picture courtesy of ADL Productions]

The Order of The Circle is an organization, that brings terror upon the world. The ultimate plan is to erase mankind, but not through war or mass destruction in the known sense. Scientists developed a new technology called The Dividian Process to create a soldier, that is much more effective for the Order’s plans. After a couple of failed attempts, they create Project Midnight – the soldier to exterminate the last living humans.
But there’s a problem with Project Midnight: he regains his memory and remembers the time of his life, that made him choose between good and evil.

So much for the story itself. I don’t want to spoil the viewing experience for those, who haven’t seen the movie yet.
What makes The Protokon special is the atmosphere created by director Anthony de Lioncourt. Although it is partly set in the future, it still lives from its 80s style. Normally I’m not much of a sci-fi-freak, but I really like the way de Lioncourt strictly stayed true to the style throughout the whole movie. Especially during the scenes set in the corridors of the Order’s laboratories, where Project Midnight is confronted with a couple of other experiments of the Order.

The actors performances are tremendously captivating and even the smallest roles like the biker gang or Cassandra and her boys are portrayed perfectly well. The viewer can sense the level of professionalism in it and the passion for the story as well from the casting department as from the actors themselves.
The protagonist is portrayed by the actor Matt Mattson and he does a hell of a good job. It is not easy to show the recipients the full emotional range of a character as complicated and torn as James Tain. To show the inner conflict and the inner numbness of a once so life-loving fellow surely demands a lot of discipline and a lot of character-work. But the best about it is that the viewer doesn’t notice the work and is just left alone with a performance full of emotion, although the character itself seems to be almost emotionless – especially towards the end of the movie.
One actor, who never ceases to amaze me, is Jaiden Kaine. I already saw him in Iron Horse Cinema’s feature film Kingdom Come and what can I say: I truly am impressed again. In The Protokon he is the perfect cast for the antagonist – the true, calculating evil with a brilliant mind. It is easy for him to manipulate people and to use them for his own goals. Kaine is capable of playing that character with such an ease, that is quite easy to forget you’re watching a movie.

Elijah Mann (Jaiden Kaine) is more than he seems to be in the beginning (picture courtesy of ADL Productions)
Elijah Mann (Jaiden Kaine) is more than he seems to be in the beginning [picture courtesy of ADL Productions]

Not all of the characters in The Protokon are good or evil, especially the scientist Nathan Grey. As his name already induces: he is the one with the shades of grey and he is the one, who secretly plays an even bigger role than Project Midnight himself.
He starts out as one of the good guys, his research solely dedicated to care and to save. But as one of his projects gets rejected by his boss, he accepts the offer of the Order to work for them. As his work continues, he even undergoes the Dividian Process himself and turns into a black and white version of himself. Although he still has a part of his old self in him, he dedicates his entire self to the Order. Will he rediscover his conscience?
Grey is excellently portrayed by Eugene Lin, who manages to let his face express even more than his words could.

Nathan Grey (Eugene Lin, left) and his former boss Richard Crison (Jeff Moffitt) [picture courtesy of ADL Productions]
Nathan Grey (Eugene Lin, left) and his former boss Richard Crison (Jeff Moffitt) [picture courtesy of ADL Productions]

Personally I was really excited to see some familiar faces on screen again. Jeff Moffitt for example, who seems to be the personification of the good forces or Daniel Berkey as his father. Or Gary Marachek of course, whom I am a fan of, to admit. He truly has a talent for the weird characters. And of course a lot of others I loved seeing again or for the first time – great team!

To sum it up: The Protokon is a highly recommendable sci-fi movie in the style of the 80s. Moral, memory, experience and revenge are only a few of the topics dealt with brilliantly. Anthony de Lioncourt managed to gather a team of wonderful actors, who completely nail it. The movie leaves the viewer to think, to imagine, to analyse. And that’s what makes a movie worth watching.

Movie credits:
The Protokon
written and directed by Anthony de Lioncourt

Producer Anthony de Lioncourt, Eugene Lin, Jeff Moffitt
Executive Producer Anthony de Lioncourt, Jaiden Kaine, Mark Mattson
Consulting Producer Ben van Bergen

Cast:
James Tain / Midnight – Mark Mattson
Elijah Mann – Jaiden Kaine
Dawn – Samantha Strelitz
Nathan Grey – Eugene Lin
Richard Crison – Jeff Moffitt
Miles – Gary Marachek
Helki – Loren Giron
Blue Streak – Danni Wang
Sonny – David Raymond Klein
Walter Crison – Daniel Berkey
Edward / Blackout – Mark Moore
Hawk – Steven Komito
Cassandra – Alisa Ermolaev
Rook – Michael Voight
Johnny – Rich Sab
Stomper – Paugh Shadow
Morris – Mark Alessio
Crison Employee – Darrin Biss
Project 412314 – Pamela Macey
Erik – David Weber
Bartender – Harry L. Seddon
Girl at bar – Alissa Simmons
Guy at bar – Antonio E. Silva
Elizabeth Crison – Karen Vana-Grecco

Music by Anthony de Lioncourt
Cinematography by Anthony de Lioncourt
Sound Department Anthony de Lioncourt
Special / Visual Effects by Anthony de Lioncourt
Make-up Department Melissa Folger, Pamela Macey
On-Set Photographer Eugene Lin
Script Supervisor Karen Vana-Grecco

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