Director Colby Cyrus grew up in the small town of Moosup, CT. At age 21 he moved to NYC to attend acting school. He worked on numerous productions as an actor and crew member. He is a partial owner of SKI Productions with his colleague Andrew Medieros. When the opportunity to direct was presented, Colby was ready. He wrote,directed, and starred in his directorial debut "Muddy Water". His main goal is to continue directing film at a high level for many years to come.
From the very beginning, Muddy Water (directed by Colby Cyrus) puts us in the heart of the crisis and, through a visual language, transfers all the anxiety and inner dread of its characters to us. In flashbacks marked in black and white, we become aware of a horrible incident that has surrounded the mind and life of the protagonist. Presumably under the pressure of such an incident, he has decided to get kill himself with a bullet. The sounds in the film simultaneously reflect this tension and inner anxiety as the sounds transmit the nightmarish atmosphere of the character’s mind to the audience. It is easy to see that the protagonist’s despondency lies in his inability to commit suicide. Elements such as the cross, the gun, and etc. are set in order to involve the mind of the audience in this early scene. We revisit these elements later on and we are repeatedly referred to them (for instance, the cross is later seen dangling around the neck of the other characters.
The film is in a constant motion between various atmospheres and moods. After such a tempestuous and challenging beginning, it is the time for the anti-climax. The protagonist, unable to commit suicide, has to carry on with the burden of that failure and the director, Colby Cyrus, changes the ambiance by introducing another character. Now that the protagonist has to live on with the consequences of what has already occurred, we get to know important people in his life: a police officer who seems to have had a history with the protagonist and the other characters. Alongside these characters, we enter the world of felons and criminals. The movie depicts an atmosphere of a collapsing, absurd world where losers commit violent and cruel deeds.
The black, bleak atmosphere of the film is mixed with an experimental approach to the story. This form of experimental cinema has shown that it can cause brilliant deviations in its hybrid treatment of genres. In so doing, this new cinema can present new concepts and forms of representation. In Muddy Water, the director has attempted to reach a novel representation through changing the narrative style, having fresh ideas, and working with novice actors and actresses; the film has a representation that shows the same old formulae through a new perspective. We are aware that there has been a robbery and there is a corpse but everything is wrapped in a layer of surrealism. There is a trace of ambiguity in scenes as if something is not natural about the dialogues and how characters behave. The film has been successful in creating such a melancholic atmosphere and it leaves the audience wanting to know more about the characters, their backstories and their ultimate fate.
Making a genre film independently and with a low budget is difficult, one would say almost impossible, since a genre has a series of tropes and characteristic features that the filmmaker should be able to recreate. If a film does not want to follow these fixed rules, then the filmmaker must find some alternatives as how to approach the story. Colby Cyrus has tried to find such alternatives by means of cinematography, sounds, relation between the characters, and the climax and anti-climax of the story. In an atmosphere imbibed with mistrust running among the characters, with menace and fear where the lives of the characters are in danger in different ways, the film tries to keep its narrative rhythm in balance scene by scene.
Muddy Water has also been quite successful in characterization. The characters in the film are captives in a sick and perilous world who spend their lives in darkness. They are repeatedly haunted by the shadows of the past. There is always something that pursues them like a ghost. Seemingly all who enter the game cannot get out of it. These are characters who have reached an end in their relationship (love or fraternal), who are unsuccessful in connecting with the outside world. Meanwhile, places play an important role in showing the relationship among these people. Places bereft of living spirit, tranquilizing warmth, as they were temporary places for temporary souls.
The film begins with a character and delicately moves towards another one and in the last part the film, it focuses on the issue of having children and other characters’ relationships. This is done tenderly and carefully and we witness how the characters, whom we thought play supporting roles, are placed in the center of attention of the story and their worries are bolded. The shift in the direction of the film is part of the alternative options that the filmmaker offers to move towards the path of detective genre. The very shift in the direction of the film both causes a distancing effect in the film, and provides the characters with depth and dimension.
The ending is quite surprising and although the film ends in the form of a tragedy, it also promises a happy future because of the scene about having a child. The film manages to control its rhythm in its thirty five minutes very well and utters a story full of climax and anti-climax and details. In a world full of fallen and cruel characters, the unborn child can seemingly have a different destiny, and this destiny does not happen except when the corrupt characters have disappeared. The film introduces its characters to the audience very well and makes us sympathize with their worries and problems and makes us like them in spite of all their weaknesses. However, among the black and grey characters who are either corrupt or evil, we are looking for a protagonist we can look up to; the one with whom the movie ends.