Stop reading, right now, I mean it. Watch Mannion's viral movie, The Defector, NOW, lest you be cynical about my words. Because there is no doubt that Mannion possesses some serious cinematographic talent and potentially someone who could join the likes Christopher Nolan and The Coen brothers, "SCOFF! big names, are you for real?" I know, just F'ing watch it, this is where they started. This is the subversive confidence that turned out heads
fingers crossed the right people notice. Menacing. If Mannion's latest (The Defector, Part one of the Anthology) was any single emotion, it would be pure, unfiltered sense of the menace of the unknown. Like a terrorist hostage hold up who may or may not carry a real bomb, this film increases the tension with a confident grace, it's a language and it's being spoken fluently here. Refreshingly, It allows its conflicting ideas and grey morality to battle in the mind of the viewer: "which character is justified in his action and who is the real menace?" Defector leaves the audience guessing as the story unweaves events.
The film follows the real-life figure of Prime Minister Harold Holt as he engages with his security chiefs about the Reds, individuals suspected of working against the state. However, Holt has his own agenda and begins to explore one of the secret threads, culminating in a single night of dangerous confrontation, which the film depicts.
Mannion's work here shows the power of a precisely executed thriller, combined with a modest layer of science fiction. As the film unravels, this layer broods closer to the surface, but still, thankfully, remains neither naive nor pretentious. It's a genre-bending subversive masterpiece. The visual style of Defector, like its superb cast, especially Sean Taylor as Holt, is high craft. The decor and fashion of 1960's offer a great backdrop to the mystery of the real-life death of this figure.
All of these elements resemble on one hand movies like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, telling a story of incredibly dangerous men who decide the fate of the world and still manage to look like everyday bureaucrats, and on the other hand, films like The Prestige, Boogie nights, Dusk Till Dawn with their subversive shifts. The Characters, these gray and almost faceless persons (even though this changes later on as well) are ideal personifications of our greatest menace, the unknown."