Action thrillers from Hollywood are a dime a dozen these days and most feature a fusillade of clichés that you can see coming from ten miles away. But a Caribbean action thriller is rare and one that began as a film student’s project and ended up in theatres nationwide is practically unheard of.

And this is the unique case of Trinidad and Tobago action crime thriller Pendulum, directed and co-written by Michael Rochford. The film’s trailer has more than 500,000 views on Facebook and it was released nationally on October 11. It is the story of an ex-soldier with PTSD named Ryan Williams (Jovon Brown) who is asked by an old friend and software company CEO named Luther (Stephen Hadeed Jr) to investigate a stalker. But things take a dark turn when Luther is murdered apparently by Ryan’s own hands. Here’s my spoiler free review:

pendulum review
You like my beard? I like my beard. I think this is the start of a beautiful business relationship

For a film on a small budget Pendulum looks really good. The establishing shots are picturesque, the gun play feels authentic and the action scenes are slickly choreographed. The cast and crew must be highly commended for producing such a polished looking product especially from such humble beginnings.

Hadeed is a standout among the cast and easily embodies the role of the confident yet concerned CEO. Anokha Baptiste is also delightful as the female lead. Male lead Jovon Brown is less strong but is still believable and relatable in the role. The scenes where he has his PTSD attacks are some of his best. Actor Scott Evans (a personal friend of mine actually) is smooth and entertaining as ex-soldier and roguish Harold. But his accent or “hackcent” is a distracting mix of British, Scottish, German and even a hint of Jamaican. He probably should have just chosen one accent and stuck to it.

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Director Michael Rochford. Photo courtesy Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

The dialogue of the film is Trinidadian and features colloquialisms like “wha’s de scene?” (hello) and “tomorrow please God” (goodbye). This continues a welcome trend of local films embracing their Trininess which is not only important for local audiences but will make these movies stand out among Hollywood and other foreign fare.

The plot of the film is relatively standard but they included some twists that even threw me off. And being the film buff that I am you have to come pretty good to do that. All in all Pendulum is a well made, entertaining action film that will please fans of the action thriller genre and also those looking for some well made Caribbean content. And to my Trinis readers I would not say #supportlocal but we should give local films a chance and definitely support quality local. And Pendulum is a quality film.

Rating: Pendulum gets 3.5/5 well placed gunshots.

The film is currently in theatres nationwide and you can check out the trailer here:

For my review of Trinidad and Tobago drama Green Days by the River click here.