THEATRICAL REVIEW: Heart-wrenching Mass an evocative exploration of tragedy and guilt

From the very first frame of Mass, you’ll be dragged in and completely, entirely transfixed.

Every quiet moment is filled with dread, and you’ll feel transformed by the revelations brought forward in this one.

Two sets of parents come together in a church basement to discuss tragic events from the past that have linked them for the rest of their lives.

They begin with niceties and polite questions, but it soon becomes clear that the thin veneer of decorum will soon fall away.

What follows is a dynamic, difficult and emotional sparring between four complex characters as they grapple with the long-standing impacts of the events.

Actor-turned-director Fran Kranz creates a self-assured, steady debut that will make you unbelievably uncomfortable but unable to look away.

These are career performances from long-time character actors Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton, Ann Dowd and Reed Birney. None of them is an archetype and they each represent a well-drawn, human character.

Expect Isaacs and Dowd to be dark horse Oscar hopefuls come nominations, as they’re absolutely electric.

This is a difficult film, but represents the best of 2021 so far, and a meditation on loss and insurmountable pain and grief.

4.5/5 Stars

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