A movie like ‘The Radicalization of Jeff Boyd’ can make you take a little bit of time and think about life and the transformation of the self in ways one cannot imagine. This transformation comes when you least expect it, and it will scar the protagonist, giving him or her a new perspective upon life. In this feature film, Uwe Schwarzwalder foregrounds three essential elements but ends up neglecting others that are equally important.
The plot consists of different sides of Jeff’s life – a man who wants to follow his heart and live a happy and simple life. He wants to move to Australia and work with his friend Morton, and enjoy life as it is… but there’s a saying: ‘life is what happens when you are too busy making other plans,’ and soon enough he will find himself facing some choices he wasn’t prepared for. The best thing about this feature film is the acting. Uwe Schwarzwalder, who’s also the directors, impeccably plays the role of Jeff Boyd, putting the emotions at work in every scene. With fitted dialogue bits that are always prone to put the character in the spotlight, and in almost every scene, he shines brightly without being intrusive in the exposure of the other characters. Jeff Boyd can be seen as the portrayal of the everyday struggle, the man who treats life gentle and believes he can make a change. He is no superhero, but his way of dealing with things makes him look like Superman before removing his glasses.
There are some cult movie influences in this feature film, and we were glad to find them at the right moment. Oddly enough, the following scenes proved to be some of our favorites from Uwe Schwarzwalder’s film. For example, at one point, Jeff dines with his friend Morton, and Morton says that he is ‘the dude,’ a reference to the cult film ‘The Big Lebowski’; or when Jeff meets Wendy, their interaction comes on shaky grounds, both being in stressful situations, yet finding comfort one in the other in a way that reminded us a little bit of the relation between Marla Singer and the narrator in ‘Fight Club.’ Another exciting element of this feature film is the score. Well fitted like a tailored suit, the score brings the full potential of this movie to light, building suspense like it should. Every second is well crafted to create a continuous sensorial carousel that gets you hooked the second you get up. The filming locations are what teenagers today would call “instagramable” as most of the exterior shots are perfectly centered. On the other hand, we must also mention the things that were not as neat, including the indoor shots that are, most of the time, too long and still, giving the impression of a fake build-up. Similarly, there are times when the sound editing isn’t as sharp as it’s supposed to be, packing way too much background noise, breaking the tension of some moments.
All in all, ‘The Radicalization of Jeff Boyd’ brings to the table a slightly new vibe that needs to be explored by the fans of the genre, with a super focus on the main character who does a great job at being charming and witty with every step he takes.