Film Review: The White Orchid
Produced by: Steve Anderson, Stephen H. Bogart, Robbert de Klerk, Bill Eikost, Jere B. Ford, Josh Mandel, Jeff Marchelletta
White Orchid is a noir crime-thriller filmed in San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay that follows a shy private investigator who gets personally involved in a murder investigation.
Olivia Thirlby, most notably known for her role in Juno, stars as a somewhat introverted investigator who was assigned the job of finding the identity of a mystery woman who was gruesomely murdered in Morro Bay. The local Sheriff, played by John Carrol Lynch of Fargo and Shutter Island, has been unable to solve the case and is reluctant to let anyone else help. Jennifer Beals, of Flashdance and The L Word, plays a Social Services official who advocates for Thirlby's character and pushes her to try and solve the case on her own.
The investigator slowly assumes the identity of the mystery woman, known as "The White Orchid", in hopes of discovering her identity and solving the murder.
The film features a group of solid actors and quality production value, which makes it easy to watch and stay engaged. The film noir aspects are refreshing as it seems to be a lost art in modern film. The shifts in color, the menacing music, lingering stares, classic femme fatal portrayals with pops of red color, and the fatalism as a whole do the genre justice.
The writing and acting were very calculated in their doling out of suspense. It constantly kept the viewer on their toes while simultaneously trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The plot turns were subtle and thoughtful, yet continuously engaging.
It's well written in a way that the viewer can't easily guess the outcome. Unlike other independent films that tend to leave the final scene open-ended without a conclusion, The White Orchid wraps up in a unique way with complete resolution, yet leaves the viewer backtracking throughout the entire film connecting the dots and breadcrumbs that were left.
The White Orchid made its World Premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Thursday. It can be seen again on Friday, February 2, at the Fiesta 5 Theatre at 1:20 p.m. Learn more about the film festival here.