If you are looking for a solid film that is outside of the mainstream usual then you will definitely want to check out the new drama/thriller The Archer. This interesting film first made it's appearance at the 2017 SXSW FIlm Festival and has had pretty solid reviews since it's debut. This one definitely took me by surprise. If you like your films with strong female leads then look no further than The Archer.
The film stars Bailey Noble as our leading lady/bad ass, Lauren Pierce. A young archery champion who is sent away to a juvenile detention center after defending herself and her teammate from her friend's abusive boyfriend. Despite the less than legit sentencing handed down by the judge Lauren holds on to hope her stay at Paradise Ridge Reform Camp for girls will be short - of course, she is completely mistaken. Once far from home and the eyes of the outside world, she finds out that everything is less than kosher at this camp. From abusive male guards, torturous punishments, and a Warden that seems a little too interested in her archery skills, she knows she has to get out of there. With the help of the camp's biggest rebel Rebecca, they just might find a way out.
Now that may have sounded cheesy or like something you have seen before, but this film actually did a really solid job of bringing this story to life. Bailey Noble as Lauren was actually pretty awesome in the role and her equally bad ass partner in crime Rebecca (Jeanine Mason) we totally on point. These two are done with the abuse and are giving back just as hard as they have gotten and it is kind of awesome to see. One of the most surprising characters in this was Michael Patrice (Played by Michael Grant Terry). He is one of the extremely vicious and predatory prison guards who gets off a little too much on torturing and abusing his charges. Whether it is spitting in their food before they get it, or running with a cinder block in the heat, or even watching the girls while they shower this guy is a grade a slime bag. It is strange for me to watch because I am so used to seeing this actor in his role as Wendel in the TV series Bones. He has done a complete 180 in this film and it is pretty nice seeing his range. Probably my least favorite part of this film is played by Bill Sage. He takes on the role of Bob Patrice who is our camp warden. The role could have definitely used some more screen time so some of his scenes feel rushed and a little awkward. He character is totally necessary but it seems like they may have sacrificed some much-needed shots to keep the run time down to its fairly short 1hour and 26mins.
Overall, what I liked about this movie is that whether you loved or hated the story the film tries to shed light on a very real problem we face here in America and that is the for-profit prison system as it pertains to our youth. At the end of the film, we are faced with a series of statistics that show that many corrupt judges and officers have no problem sacrificing the future of our youth to line their pockets with kickbacks at detention centers just like the one we see in the film. it is an awful and shameful practice that needs to come to an end especially because study after study shows that locking a kid up in places like this only increase their chances of winding up in incarceration as an adult. It is a sad truth that I am glad this film chooses to bring to light. Also a shout out to Director Valerie Weiss and writer Casey Schroen for making some of the characters LGBT. That is a highly underrepresented youth in TV and film.
The Archer is a great film if you are looking to kick back this weekend and catch a solid movie that may surprise you. We scored this film with a solid B+.
The Archer is available on Digital HD and On Demand starting October 24th, 2017.