HACKENSACK, N.J. — As we hunker down at home to self-quarantine amid the throes of this historic coronavirus pandemic, it’s safe to assert we’re all feeling somewhat stuck in our lives.
With the state essentially on lockdown with a number of our favorite so-called “non-essential” businesses indefinitely shuttered, which are, to us pleasure seekers, very essential (coffee shops, malls, restaurants and movie theaters, to name a few) — the future seems to hang in the balance. As our household supply lists of toiletries, food, and water continue to mount, along with it is our Netflix movie lists (that’s not if we haven’t taken a stroll outside to enjoy the spring air).
Despite this devastation, our current state of affairs has never been the more apropos time to rediscover timeless classics while spending more time indoors, wondering what to watch. We may poke through the criterion collection selecting the movies that inspired awe or brought us to tears from "Titanic" to "Gone With the Wind," "The Royal Tenenbaums," "The Rocky Saga," the list goes on. But apart from re-indulging in our all-time favorite flicks, there’s nothing like discovering a new film — especially an independent gem — and one featuring a North Jersey resident!
If you’re a sucker for crime thrillers with a hint of psychological mystique, director James Smith’s contemplative, in-your-face drama, “Do Something, Jake” (2019) by Raya Films -- an official selection of the Southend-on-Sea Film Festival and honorable mention winner from the Hollywood New Directors starring Hackensack’s Ed Bergtold as a supporting actor -- is uniquely satisfying and hopeful with a storyline reflective of the times. Jake (Jamie Alderson) is an introverted Englishman unable to read or write, living life in an arrested adolescence — his days are consumed eating cereal, playing video games, watching pornography and waiting on the next call from an employment agency amid a string of failed odd jobs. His redeeming qualities — a caring personality, a laser-like shot with his James Bond-esque video game gun, and good looks hidden beneath a shabby appearance (he even left his house once in animal-print slippers.)
In the midst of being content with living a life devoid of meaning and purpose, his voyeuristic nature comes in handy when he crushes on his bonny neighbor Alice (Mia Mills) whom he watches from their apartment building through a vent in his closet. Unbeknownst to, but lucky for her, his interest in her is what saves her from her two-bit addict boyfriend Guy (Thomas Loone), who is involved in an illicit drug operation maneuvered by Morten (Hackensack’s Ed Bergtold) and his accomplice Slim (Simon Crudgington.) Good-natured Alice and her knowledge of their shady business make her a threat, while a dangerous game to keep it under wraps ensues.
“I’m a method actor. I trained for several years. I’m familiar with being able to relate to the character,” explains Bergtold, who had a small role in Oliver Stone's 2010 blockbuster "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." “I try to bring myself into the creation of the character. I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to play your typical gangster-type, tough guy I wanted to create a character that people would like… in degenerate human beings and evil characters, I try to find something likable. Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter… you hate to love these types of characters.”
Bergtold weaves his love of crime television shows like The Sopranos into his character in the role of Morten, a hard talking, no-nonsense crime boss from Newark who cruelly refers to Jake as “Gump” after Forrest Gump. Like in the 1994 blockbuster, the antagonist unwittingly becomes a hero.
With the backdrop of quaint, yet rainy England countryside, “Do Something, Jake” is a homage to the people who feel powerless about their dismal life situations who discover the magic of their hidden talents which they use as their personal alchemy to elicit change and redemption.
“Do Something, Jake” is available to stream and download on Amazon.