The Beta Test Review
After a masterful exploration of toxic masculinity through the lens of horror-comedy and drama in Thunder Road and The Wolf Of Snow Hollow The writer-director-star Jim Cummings (collaborating with co-writer/director PJ McCabe) completes his thematic trilogies through The Beta Test, a darkly comic erotic thriller that is at its finest is a tribute to David Fincher's clinical rigor and Armando Iannucci's satirical incisiveness. It is a masterful way of navigating post-MeToo industry conversation and a dispute among talent agency and WGA and also serving as a sweat-inducing examination of a psychopath's self-immolation Cummings The Beta Test is his latest comedy that is a humdinger.
Cummings is Hollywood actor Jordan Hines, a man who seeks an honorable respect from his colleagues but is a complete jerk. His flamboyant use of power and his inferiority complexes that are unleashed in hilarious sweaty, sometimes scathing (occasionally excessive) eruptions from a magnetic Cummings can create an image that embodies the intensity of Nightcrawler's Lou Bloom and all the desperate shrieking that is Alan Partridge. In addition to Cummings's Tesla (leased) and shining whites (dentured) and credit card (company-charged) barely covering the flaws in his façade Jordan's fiancee Caroline who is performed in a sly manner with a swagger by Virginia Newcomb — is the only thing that's real in his life. Naturally Jordan is in danger by accepting a letter from an unknown source asking him to go on a sexual intimacy that is sexy and free of strings in a luxurious hotel.
The thrill of the experiencethat was shot with a glowing sensual sexiness of Director Kenneth Wales — yet afraid of being discovered Jordan's world is thrown into chaos when other letter-receivers turn into dead bodies and possible mysterious lovers appear everywhere he goes. While his lie-filled web threatens destroy his work, events like Caroline's brutal honesty saying to Jordan, "It must be exhausting to pretend to be me," speak volumes. Similar to Uncut Gems, The Beta Test depicts the exhausting teeth-clenching task of keeping up appearances thoroughly and with style. The gruelling close-ups, the dazzling editing, and a wildly unpredictable Ben Lovett string score lock us in Jordan's ever-more-involved headspace. Although McCabe and Cummings their script can stretch itself when it is juggling a myriad of social commentary and controversies, the filmmakers' ingenuity and boldness have produced an experience that is thought-provoking and exciting at the same time.