Art school is a very dangerous place. Sure we imagine it’s a nurturing learning environment for those artistically gifted to hone their talents under the tutelage of learned masters with classmates equally driven to explore their muse. But having survived an art school, most conservatories are shark tanks. A majority of the teachers are always have great tales of how they got shafted which is why they are forced to teach instead of living in Malibu like their old classmate. The students are constantly competing against each other for either a prime role or backing on their big vision. Students and even teachers get over competitive in order to get noticed and are willing to do anything to achieve the next rung of success. They’ll starve themselves to become the Sugar Plum Ferry and not a rat. They’ll steal lines of dialogue from Calvin and Hobbes to boost up a video project so they can get in a director’s project. A teacher will steal a student’s proposal to pitch to a network executive. Ambition takes the fears and desperation of art school and puts a body count to it.
Jude (My Dead Ex‘s Katherine Hughes) is a talented violinist at art school who is getting ready for a major fellowship qualification. Her teacher (Mad Men‘s Bryan Batt) swears she has what it takes to win. Although the last student who was up for that honor ended up falling off a tall building. As the pressure to performance date grows nearer Jude fears that someone is stalking her. Is it the same person that took care of the other student? She also has a lot of issues at the house she rents with a few other art school roommates. The worst of all involves her boyfriend. But she has been eyeing the guy next door that doesn’t like to close the curtains to her bedroom. He seems pretty suspicious in his ways. Is she going to make it to the stage to perform for the fellowship or will she be hanging off a building like a dangling note?
Ambition isn’t too overly ambitious in it’s pacing. The action doesn’t get too pounding. Instead there’s a serene violin like sway as the tensions build up. It’s not a bloody body count film. There’s tension, but not over the top gonna shock with you unexpected edits and big bumps in the night. It’s scary in the almost relaxing quality of the feeling of something nasty is going to strike out. Not to give away the ending, but the payoff works well. Ambition digs into the art school fears and a greater horror that can lurk in the shadow of the stage.
The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the nature of an art school Audio is 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround so you can get the strings wrapped around the room. There’s also a 2.0 DTS-HD MA Stereo for those who only have speakers up front. The movie is subtitled in English.
Trailer (1:23) talks of the dangers of violin competitions.
Scream Factory presents Ambition. Directed by: Robert Shaye. Screenplay by: John Rocco & Jenna Lyn Wright. Starring: Jared Bankens, Katherine Hughes, Giles Matthey, Dylan McNamara, Sonoya Mizuno & Jordan Salmon . Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 87. Released: November 5, 2019.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.