Solace is a portmanteau thriller from 2013. Remember 2013? The film is comprised of three interconnected two-handers set in a single location – the first a car, the second a house and the third an abandoned warehouse.

2013Features_CQFF23_1000x316_Solace_01It’s a simple little movie but an intriguing one, with a great screenplay by writer/director/producer/editor Vandon N. Gibbs. It’s just over an hour long and benefits from such a lean running time. The first section is comedic, the second dramatic and the third tense, but these shifts never feel awkward as in Cloud Atlas, and tonally the piece has a sense of unity vital for a portmanteau movie.

The unknown cast are strong, particularly Dupree Lewis Jr. and Russell Durham Comegys, even if the former is channeling Samuel L. Jackson and the latter Brad Pitt. Alongside the portmanteau plot, sparky script and quirky criminals, this gives Solace a hint of Tarantino, albeit much more sincere. There are political shades to the film, both explicit and implicit – people have conversations about the unfairness of the legal system and the characters are all from very different walks of life.

Solace never had a general release, which is a shame because it’s an interesting low-budgeter – IMDb estimate that it was made for just $10,000. The film’s strength lies in its ambition, its focus and its writing, with a plot that keeps you guessing and a conclusion which stays with you. If your new year’s resolution is to watch more films, as it always should be, then this isn’t a bad place to start.

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