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Starring: Micheal Rowe, Matt Wells, Natalie Brown, and Stephen McHattie.

Directed by: Andrew Rowe.

Written by: Andrew and Micheal Rowe.

Shifting away from its normal horror fare, Uncork'd provides audiences with a look into estranged family dynamics with its hard-hitting crime drama, CROWN AND ANCHOR. Marking the full length feature directorial debut of filmmaker, Andrew Rowe, the film follows two estranged cousins whose lives are forced to intersect - causing one another's respective lives to unravel as the past returns with violent and tragic consequences. So does Andrew's debut hit the mark or fall flat? Well, I can definitely say that CROWN & ANCHOR is an indie film that gets the movie lover in me excited in the same way that Tarantino's and Jordan's earlier features used to. This movie is a love letter to the days of smart independent crime thrillers of the early nineties with its characters and story telling. As mentioned before, CROWN & ANCHOR introduces the audience to two cousins: James (played by Micheal Rowe) and Danny (played by Matt Wells). You see, James, is a Toronto police officer with anger management issues; Danny, conversely, is a small-time hood struggling to support both his family and his drug habit. Set in Newfoundland, the reason for the cousins' estrangement stems from personal slights that each party blames the other for. However, these issues have to be put aside as when Danny's wife, Jessica (played by Brown) asks James to help Danny - whose life is spiraling out of control. It is in journey to help his cousin that James discover his perceived slight - losing the love of his life, Jessica - at the hands of Danny, was self-inflicted, as she reveals that his anger issues scared her off.

While there is a lot of ugliness at its core, CROWN AND ANCHOR is in many ways a beautiful movie about how two men must deal with their respective traumas and demons they both grew up with. For James, its by becoming a police officer and beating every man he sees abusing his family because he sees his father in each of them. For Danny, its drugs and his inability to take responsibility. Both men in their own way are addicts, looking for the things that will make them right.

Andrew Rowe, who is perhaps for his short films, hits all the marks with his full length feature debut. The cinematography, for instance, is amazing, as it captures the cold, gray feel of Newfoundland, giving it an ideal film noir look. The story, which he had co-written here with his brother, Micheal Rowe, holds up very well from beginning to end. Lastly, Rowe, Wells, and Brown all turn in compelling performances; particularly, Rowe, whose character reminds us that life can oftentimes not be fair and that while we can try to do everything to leave our demons behind, they are always with us.

Overall grade: A+

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