"Mass" a powerful study of loss and grief

Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton appear in a scene from "Mass."

"Mass" is a small movie that packs a powerful punch.

It's a well-crafted, immaculately acted film about loss and grief from writer/director Fran Krantz that will still resonate long after the final credits roll.

"Mass" is essentially a four-character piece. Two couples agree to meet privately at a church to discuss the aftermath of an unspeakable tragedy - a school shooting that happened several years ago.

Jay and Gail (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton) were the parents of one of the victims, while Linda and Richard (Ann Dowd and Reed Birney) were the parents of the shooter.

This meeting unfolds in real time, with both couples sharing how the event has effected them - and things they wish they could have done differently leading up to the event.

Krantz's film plays it right down the middle, a two-sided coin that doesn't judge - but allows the audience to gather their own opinions as the conversation deepens. The result is a film that is raw and intimate - a study of grief in a frank and open manner.

The material is placed in the hand of four very capable leads, who come together to deliver an acting clinic. Krantz long-time background as an actor comes into play here, as Krantz the director really allows his cast to dig in. The results are staggering. All four are given moments to shine, creating a well-oiled ensemble that is as close to perfect as you will see on film.

They are all equaling good - and equaling deserving of awards consideration.

The cast is so good that the scenes in which Frantz tries to expand the film outside of the small room in the church the film isn't as effective. The strength of "Mass" is the intimacy of the film and the willingness of this cast to leave everything on screen.

The result is an exhausting, challenging, powerful experience that is one of the very best films of 2021.

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