When local writer-director David Saich handed me a copy of his debut feature Scapegoat, he told me, “If you get a review in the paper before it screens, I’d appreciate it,” then added, “Unless you hate it. In that case put it in after its shows.” That was a possibly wise—albeit unworkable—idea; but as it turns out, he needn’t have worried. Scapegoat is one of the best, most stylishly made, and cleverest movies by a local filmmaker that’s ever crossed my path. It’s also one of the best acted (even Channel 13’s John Le acquits himself pretty nicely in a cameo role) and photographed. It’s a story about a man, John Capra (Ben Puckett), who specializes in manipulating evidence and will even take the fall for whatever crime you’ve committed—for a fee, of course. The premise is clever enough, but the development and convoluted nature of what happens when a really big score comes his way is even better. Is it perfect? No. It’s a little too long for its own good, for one thing. For another, that horribly generic title does it zero favors. But it’s all in all a pretty terrific little movie. See it.
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