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‘Hundreds of Beavers’ (review)

 This movie is nuts. Let us get that out of the way immediately. It is completely nuts. Yet, it is also extremely charming.

I love any film that takes a new and creative spin on the old tried and true. This film certainly does that and it takes plenty of risks that many films these days just don’t.

The result is a zany, funny, and well executed film that doesn’t let you take a breath.

The film does something that not a lot of films try to do anymore. It is a silent film. That is hard enough but to make it a comedy as well is doubly challenging.

Luckily, the filmmakers are up to the task.

Co-screenwriter Ryland Brickson Cole Tews is actually the star of this film. He plays Jean Karak, who has one of the most impressive beards that I have ever seen someone commit to.

But then, tragedy strikes.

There are these terrible beavers that end up putting an end to his business. Jean Karak is not happy about this!

So, he takes it upon himself to actually do something about these beavers. He has to sober up and do something about these creatures. He  does the only thing that he can think of: He gets into fur trapping. That’s right, Jean Karak decides to take the fight directly to the beavers themselves.

But the beavers are building something out there in the forest. It is something big, something that Karak might have to contend with. He starts to see that as the film goes on. He also is trying to win the heart of a traders’s daughter, named the Furrier (played with charm by actress Olivia Graves).

Will she fall in love with him? Will he even have a chance? Or is he fighting against an enemy that he might not have a snowball’s chance in hell against?

The film then takes us into some truly unique and interesting territory that I haven’t seen before in a film.

It isn’t all goofy and zany to be goofy and zany either. This is a film that is intelligently done. It is extremely difficult to do an entire film without any heavy dialogue that so many films rely on. The fact that the filmmakers just use images and physicality to tell the story is just impressive enough, but to also make it such a triumph? That is an incredible and inspiring and impressive feat for sure.

As the film goes on, Jean Karak befriends a person named Master Fur Trapper, who is played with equal glee by the actor Wes Tank. Karak learns slowly about hunting from him. We get to see him try to trap some animals to hilarious effect. We also get to see the Merchant, played by Doug Mancheski who is fantastic in the role. Macheski is very strong in his role and left me laughing out loud. All of the performers really are very talented.

There is a lot to laugh at here. My favorite thing of the entire film is that the opening titles don’t appear until about thirty minutes into the movie. It took me aback and I loved it for that. The only thing that I will say is that it does go on a little long and the ending isn’t as spectacular as one would hope it would be. It does out stay it’s welcome a bit near the end. But no matter, I still had a great time throughout.

The script itself is pretty damn interesting and fun.

The writing team used their imaginations so well.  And as far as director Mike Cheslik is concerned, well it is hard to believe that this is just his second feature. His direction is confident and assured and full of inventive touches and flourishes.

The movie belongs to lead actor and co-writer Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, though. He hits all the right notes here. On top of being emotional, funny and vulnerable, he also gives and incredibly demanding physical performance. It holds the whole thing together perfectly. This is an incredibly enjoyable film, one that you can watch multiple times and find joy in.

RATING: A-

 *  *  *  *  *
Produced by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Matt Sabljak,
Sam Hogerton, Kurt Ravenwood

Written by Mike Cheslik, Ryland Brickson Cole Tews
Directed by Mike Cheslik
Starring Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Wes Tank,
Olivia Graves, Doug Mancheski, Luis Rico, Mike Cheslik,
Jessica Knap, Brendan Steere,  Jon Truei

For a complete list of screening and locations, CLICK HERE.
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