Julius Amedume’s ‘Rattlesnakes’ is sinister but satisfying

A great plot twist doesn’t just shock, it can make a movie unforgettable, which is exactly what Julius Amedume’s neo-noir psychological thriller “Rattlesnakes” is.

Based on Graham Farrow’s 1997 stage-play which Amedume brings to the big screen, the film follows a therapist kidnapped by three masked men who accuse him of sleeping with their wives and what starts off as a seemingly simple scare tactic, grows enormously complicated with layer upon layer of twists and tricks.

Cast of Rattlesnakes - courtesy of Royalty Images
Cast of Rattlesnakes – courtesy of Royalty Images

“It has some of the connotations and sensibilities the original play has. I just took the essence of the play and made it into a feature film,” says Amedume, an award-winning director whose film, “A Goat’s Tail,” about a Ghanaian taxi driver who travels to London and encounters an underworld of drug culture earned him a Pan African Film Festival award for Best Feature in 2007.

Jimmy Jean-Louis in Rattlesnakes
Jimmy Jean-Louis in Rattlesnakes

With a slow-building plot and a shocking conclusion, Jimmy Jean-Louis plays the lead character, Robert McQueen, a charismatic life coach of sorts who has an unorthodox relationship with his white middle-class female clients and it’s a role Jean-Louis, who also produces the film, relished.

“He is one of those guys who is very seductive, and I like to play a character you can never fully understand or read,” shares the “Claws” actor who approached Amedume with the project having met the director at the Pan African Film Festival several years ago.

“We both had films here,” adds Amedume,” and we swapped information. Jimmy came to watch my film and I came to watch his film and we went for a coffee, which lasted 5 hours. We have always said we would work with each other and here we are on our second project.”

Julius Amedume and Jimmy Jean-Louis
Julius Amedume and Jimmy Jean-Louis

Meticulously constructed via solid writing scene by scene, the film also stars Jack Coleman (“Heroes”), Kathleen McClellan (“Seinfeld”), Jay Acovone (“Terminator”), Christian Oliver (“Hercules”), Robinne Lee (“Fifty Shades Darker”) and Rya Kihlstedt (“Heroes Reborn”).

If you’re looking for a slow-burning, suspenseful trip, you can’t go wrong with ” am”

The film will screen at the festival on Wed, Feb 13 @ 3:45pm and Mon, Feb 18 @ 12:30pm at the Cinemark Theater at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

To purchase tickets, go to paff.org.

By Samantha Ofole-Prince – (Photos): Jimmy Jean-Louis as Robert McQueen courtesy of MICHAEL MORIATIS/KEW, Julius Amedume and Jimmy Jean-Louis and ‘Rattlesnakes’ cast photo courtesy of Royalty Images

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