DBFF movie review: “Tied to a Chair”

West Palm Beach and Miami Movie Examiner

Steven Lebowitz

West Palm Beach and Miami Movie Examiner rates this:stars

bonnie loren

Up to now, Examiner.com hasn’t printed any positive movie reviews from The Delray Beach Film Festival. There are only so many movies you can catch at a film festival and you hope you find the diamonds in the rough. A diamond has been found with the comedy “Tied to a Chair” thanks, in part, to the film’s leading lady, Bonnie Loren, who shines very brightly in this film.

The film centers on Loren’s character, Naomi, who is a former New York actress who gave up that life a long time ago. She has married a British man and is now a housewife in London. The marriage is not working out, so she arranges for him to find another woman, and she goes off to the Cannes International Film Festival to re-pursue her acting career. There she meets up with Billy Rust (Mario Van Peebles), a filmmaker who once knew glory and is now looking to revive that career with a new screenplay that was entirely written by a computer program.

Billy agrees to give Naomi a screen test after she auditions for him by having herself tied to a chair, something her character would go through, “Being tied to a chair is every woman’s fantasy” she says. She flies to New York to meet Billy, but things quickly spin out of control as Naomi steals a cab from a dishonest cab driver, becomes a suspect in a murder and before you know it she gets mixed up with the mob and terrorists.

Bonnie Lauren is the X-factor that really makes this film work, she’s instantly likable the moment we see her on screen; even after we see her accidentally put a toaster in the microwave oven. There is a lot more depth to her character than the clumsy housewife we first meet, and director Michael Bergmann takes his time revealing all the layers to her character.

The director, despite a few abrupt cuts in the editing, delivers a finely paced film. The movie offers plenty of laughs throughout, thanks largely to the fabulously funny performance by Lauren and the other supporting characters. There’s no wasted time in this film; the relationship between Naomi and her husband is completely established and understood within the first fifteen minutes of the film. Another interesting aspect in this film is that despite some of the background of the characters we meet, the film establishes that not everyone is either all good or all bad, while we know most films it’s either one way or the other. Film buffs may even notice the symbolism that runs throughout the film.

“Tied to a Chair” is without a doubt one of the best films to appear at DBFF. The film is funny (it may have one of the funniest car chase scenes since “The Blues Brothers”) and engaging to the audience, filled with likable characters and a cast to make them so. Look out Meryl Streep, there is another actress of your generation who is just as amazing as you are, and her name is Bonnie Lauren.