As a child, there was one trilogy that I absolutely loved to watch, and that was The Wilderness Family. Perhaps it was because I was raised to be an outdoor child, finding a love for all the incredibly amazing outdoor activities that this family got to partake in as they trekked through the Canadian forests. Another thing I highly enjoyed about those films was the gorgeous scenery that I was exposed to. All the mountain ridges, forests, and up close shots of wild-life was absolutely breathtaking. That film in and of itself is probably how I came up with my first email address ‘NatureGirl12’. I’m not kidding – that was my very first email address.
I didn’t think that I would find a film that would compare to that incredible outdoor cinematography and fun storyline until I recently had the chance to see an early screening and review Bruce Troxell’s film Chased. Let me start out by saying, the incredible cinematography (captured by Rakesh Malik) was only one of the things that I absolutely loved about this movie. I have a gigantic soft spot for independent filmmakers. It is amazing to see the amount of time, dedication and funding they put into bringing their masterpieces to live. Bruce Troxell absolutely accomplished that. It was made very clear throughout the film that he put his heart and soul into everything in this film, and that is a rare thing to see nowadays. It made this film even more special. Now that I have started, allow me to continue:
Chased, written and directed by Bruce Troxell is a film about Sheriff ‘Wild Bill’ Hastings (played by Ray Hopper) who, after stumbling upon quite a few pieces of evidence that lead to suspicions of illegal activities in his woods, is pursued by a sophisticated band of moonshiners in the forests of Washington.
At first when I heard about the movie, I thought ‘oh great, another movie about someone running through the woods… how stereotypical’. However after just watching a mere ten minutes of the movie, I realized how wrong I was. This film is anything but stereotypical – it is absolutely unique in all of its own ways… and I cannot get enough of it.
After stumbling upon a suspicious vehicle and an illegal still, Sheriff Hastings finds himself in the fight for his life as he continues to try and evade his captures. As a combat veteran, the task should seem pretty simple, right? Well, not so much. In addition to being tracked by a group of men who will stop at nothing to stop the sheriff from ruining their operation, they bring with them a man named ‘Road Runner’ (played by Juan Aleman) who is one of the most experienced trackers in the region.
As I mentioned earlier, this film is anything but stereotypical. At a run time of about an hour and thirty minutes, Chased had me drawn in and interested from the moment I hit ‘play’. I have always been a fan of cop movies, so when I heard about this one, I just had to see it. There were several points and times in the film where I could absolutely relate to the Sheriff, as a cop myself. Ray Hopper did a phenomenal job in that role not only through his knowledge of law enforcement, but through his talents of method acting. There were a lot of times in the film where the Sheriff didn’t have any lines and the sequences were all based on pure emotions. From the start of the film to the end of the film, we not only grow to feel a great empathy for the Sheriff in his struggles – we also see Ray develop as an actor through his various emotions. Method Acting is one of the most challenging skills for an actor to master these days – the ability to tell a story and express emotion without actually saying anything. I was highly impressed at how Ray accomplished this, and after speaking with Director Bruce Troxell and Ray Hopper himself in my last interview with him – this was Ray’s very first role ever, but at no point and time did that show. The acting was superb and Ray mastered that character perfectly. I cannot stress enough the incredible performance done by Ray. He’s truly a talented actor, and I am very much looking forward to his upcoming film performances (Capitol Murder, Vengeance, Snow Falls); I have seen a much of his work, and I will be the first to tell you that he is clearly passionate about what he does. There were multiple times where I wished I could reach in and help the Sheriff – because believe me, the emotions were high and the feels were very real! Ray has easily made his way into my top 3 favorite, inspirational and motivational actors – ever.
In addition to Ray, I found myself getting incredibly attached to the group of moonshiners. They weren’t your average run of the mill bandits. In TV shows nowadays, Moonshiners and HillBilly’s are portrayed as these rough riders who have only one goal – destroy everything, kill everyone and ask no questions. Okay, now that is stereotypical. The group of Moonshiners in Chased reminded me of a Dukes of Hazzard meets Gilligans Island meets Lost. It was obvious that each of the characters were written to be different, with their own individual personalities. I guarantee you, when you watch this movie EVERYONE is going to have their favorite moonshiner in the group. I know I have my favorite, but at the risk of hurting the feelings of the other moonshiners… I don’t dare say who! I absolutely could not get enough of these characters, and all the back and forth bantering was absolutely wonderful.
As I mentioned earlier, this film is anything but stereotypical. Not only does it have an interesting plot and an intriguing storyline that keeps you watching, waiting and wondering in suspense the entire time – it creates an arc that will make you truly get attached to the characters, and the films underlying message. I dare not give away any spoilers, but I will say that there is an incredible amount of hidden symbolism in the film that make for a delicious supernatural and intriguing twist. There were multiple times when I was watching this film where I found myself going ‘wait, wait… how did he do that? wait! how did he do THAT?’. Not only was the plot extremely thrilling, I found myself truly enjoying the humor spread throughout the film the entire time. If there is one thing Bruce Troxell knows how to do, it is to deliver you a story that will warm your heart, send your mind racing, and have you wanting more. He created a truly unique and remarkable storyline unlike any other I have ever seen – and that is what really has me hooked. I love writers and directors who think outside the box. He’s not only thought outside the box – he’s thought outside the atmosphere around the outside of the box… and it has brought out this absolutely wonderful film. Not only that, but let me take a second to mention the films ending. I absolutely did not see it coming – and those make for the best kinds of endings. I give great kudos to Bruce Troxell for that incredibly creative way of thinking!
When I spoke with Bruce Troxell, I asked him what his inspiration was behind Chased:
“My inspiration for “Chased” that has several parts to it. First, Sheriff “Wild Bill” was a tribute to my father. He was a actor playing the Sheriff named “Wild Bill” at a Las Vegas theme park back in the early 1980’s. He was very popular. Second, I love Robert Taylor in the TV series “Longmire”. Great show. Third, I wanted to showcase the beauty of Washington State. Fourth, I wanted a story that throws the audience for not one but two loops. The film starts out as a straight drama, then a comedy and finishes with a crazy twisted ending. All of us are happy with the finished product. We want to make that a trait of our films. You cannot predict how it will end.”
When Chased (Cloudmaker Pictures) is released to the public (hopefully by the end of this year!), I highly encourage everyone to check it out. It takes a lot for me to watch a film more than once unless I really like it, and I have watched this film five times already. I would say it is a perfect film to sit down and watch with your family, or with a group of friends if you are looking for a good laugh, an intriguing plotline, and a fun time.
Bruce Troxell truly put together a fun, delicious, and highly enjoyable masterpiece and I cannot wait to see what works he comes up with next. It is rare to find a filmmaker as passionate as him, and he absolutely is someone for young and aspiring filmmakers to look up to.
I give Chased a 9/10 Biscuits. Easily.