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Track 16  

Cast: Billy Franks, Mick McCleery, Bobbi
Ashton, Alan Pratt
Written by Mick McCleery
Directed by Mick McCleery

Released by One By One Film

Official Website: Track 16

View the trailer: Real Video

'The sound was low... But Paul could hear it clearly... A scream...
The kind of scream that could only be made by someone facing their own death... It has haunted him ever since'.

Images (c) One By One Film

TRACK 16 PLOT: Paul Matthews (Billy Franks) discovers that after a late night recording session alone, a girl can be faintly heard screaming on one of the tapes tracks, track number 16. He goes outside right away to find a girl lying dead in an alley, covered in blood. He promptly calls the police and finds himself as the lead suspect. What follows is a glorious ride that leads Matthews into a web of betrayal, sex, murder and mayhem.

TRACK 16 REVIEW: A few weeks ago a little known movie entitled Track 16 was mailed to me by its writer, director Mick McCleery. Mick emailed me a couple of days before to see if I wanted to take a look at his little indie movie that has just been released on VHS in the US through One By One Film. So I said yeah, sure......

The film as I said before is the brainchild of Mick McCleery. Here he writes directs and even stars as guitarist Mason. The film is an independent set against the backdrop of the east coast US band scene and features the music of British artist Billy Franks. Franks also stars in the lead role of Paul Matthews. Now for those who haven't heard of Franks before, which includes myself, don't worry as you soon will. His music that features throughout the movie is simply outstanding, but, more on that later.

Now this is the sort of film that I would not, under usual circumstances have sought out to watch, in fact I don't usually get the opportunity to see a lot of indie films, and the ones that I do manage to see, tend to turn out be utter tripe. But I was surprised by the quality of Track 16.

The movie is very well written and indeed scenes that stand out include the stunning opening sequence, where McCleery uses split screen to great effect, introducing each character by showing their contribution, either vocally or by playing an instrument, to the track they are laying down. Another great scene is when Matthews has been taken to a interrogation room at the local police station and tries to recall his movements of that night. Here McCleery uses the same actor (Franks) in various areas of the room talking to himself, trying to figure out when and what he was doing earlier on. Going over and over the nights events in his mind. Great.

The script is also spot on and develops the story well throughout, from the excellent opening to the action packed climax. Riddled throughout are a few pop culture references including a great dialogue sequence during the interrogation scene that mentions how Frankie Goes To Hollywood recorded their famous track 'Relax' back in the 80's. I don't want to spoil it too much, but it ties in with the plot excellently.

As with a lot of independent films, the acting, in places is a little wooden, but the director draws good performances from his leading cast. The ones that stand out are from Billy Franks, the love interest Bobbi Ashton and the cop on Matthews trail, Alan Pratt. McCleery as Mason is also superb, particularly as he also directed.

Congratulations also has to go to Franks on another contribution he gives to the film, the music. The songs 'My Best Friend Stole My Girlfriend' and 'Angel At Your Elbow' are excellent and you'll find yourself still humming them days after watching the film. His music draws from many influences and each track is different to each other. Examples of artists that his music reminds me of are U2 (and I know that even Bono acknowledges his musical genius), the aforementioned Frankie Goes To Hollywood and various other big 80's bands mixed with a little country and western. But the music has more to it than that, and Franks brings his own unique touch to it also.

There are times when you come across a film that you have heard nothing about before, but you happen to see it purely by accident and be totally blown away by it. Films that don't get much hype, but deserve heaps of it. I'd like to include Track 16 in this category. A wonderful achievement in independent filmmaking.

PROS: Great premise, outstanding music, good pace, superb editing and many memorable scenes.
CONS: Wooden acting at various points, quite corny in places.

3.5 out of 5

TRACK 16 DISC: The DVD includes a one hour 'Storyteller' session with Bill Franks where he plays 14 of his songs along with the stories behind them. The disc also features outtakes and deleted scenes with director's comments. 3/5

Paul Heath

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