Shadows Film FestShadows off the beaten path
Indies, foreigns, docs, videos, revivals and shorts...
On this page: GETTING GO | IN BLOOM
< <
I N D I E S > >
last update 18.Jun.14
back to the top R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Getting Go: The Go Doc Project
dir-scr Cory Krueckeberg
prd Tom Gustafson, Cory Krueckeberg
with Tanner Cohen, Matthew Camp, Ramon Olmos Torres, Judy McLane, Ted Merritt
camp and cohen release US Mar.13 miff,
UK 9.Jun.14
13/US 1h31

east end film fest
Getting Go This lively mock-documentary is sometimes startlingly realistic in its exploration of obsession and attraction. While filmmaker Krueckberg undermines the authenticity with some annoying moralising about the unrealistic "right" way things must be, the actors make the characters almost eerily believable.

New York university student Doc (Cohen) is obsessed with the hunky stripper Go (Camp), stalking him in streets and bars, googling photos of him and plotting out a documentary film project about his life. Before he moves to Iowa, Doc makes a determined effort to meet Go, and discovers that Go is even nicer and hotter in person. He even offers to cooperate on the movie. So once he arranges financial backing, Doc sets out to capture Go's life on camera. And as they become closer, they have a significant effect on each other.

Camp plays Go as an incredibly open and relaxed, guy, as opposed to Cohen's portrayal of Doc as crippled by low self-esteem. So they make an intriguing pair, and it's easy to identify with Doc's lust as he shoots scenes of the flirty Go preparing for his job. Of course, Doc is so shy that he ignores what is clearly a mutual attraction until his long-held fantasy becomes a reality. Through all of this, Doc and Go tellingly discuss fame and expectations, with constant references to Andy Warhol, who of course slept with his subjects as well.

Cleverly shot and edited, the whizzy imagery includes layered computer windows, chatrooms, webcams and split screens, which helps Krueckeberg make the most of a low budget. Even though Doc researches by watching Warhol films, the doc consists mainly of less-insightful musical montage sequences: go-go dancing, shopping, sleeping, roaming the streets, going to the gym, kissing and so on. This gets wearying, as does romantic melodrama that feels like it was written by someone who's idealistic and inexperienced.

But the film intriguingly captures how easy the internet makes it to become obsessed by someone. And it also works as a doc about a young guy working only a thin line away from prostitution. But the reality is that Go's everyday life is extremely dull. Thankfully both actors are likeable and charismatic, filling the screen with their open, curious personalities and youthful physicality. And even though a lot of this material feels like filler, Krueckeberg shows considerable visual and dramatic flair.

18 themes, language, strong sexuality
back to the top R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
In Bloom
dir-scr CM Birkmeier
prd CM Birkmeier, Andrew Cummings, Kevin Hartmann, Alex Levine, Robert Puttkammer
with Kyle Wigent, Tanner Rittenhouse, Adam Fane, Jake Andrews, Steve Casillas, Emma Blyth, Cooper Johnson, Vincent Degaetano, Brandon Emerson, Xavier Juarez, Robert Fortney, Josh Mulder
rittenhouse and wigent release US Jul.13 ofla,
UK 9.Jun.14
13/US 1h27
in bloom A quiet, internalised approach adds interest to this on-off romantic melodrama, although the slow pace and moody characters make the film feel mopey and indulgent. At least the acting is natural and understated, and the cast is easy on the eyes.

In Chicago, slacker Kurt (Wigent) is a low-level drug dealer whose boyfriend Paul (Rittenhouse) works in a supermarket and occasionally goes awol on drug trips. Feeling lonely as he waits for Paul to come home yet again, Kurt befriend Kevin (Fane), a young twink he meets at a party. And as Kurt fends off Kevin's tenacious attempts to lure him into an affair, he starts to question the fragile state of his relationship with Paul. Meanwhile, there's a serial killer on the loose preying on teen boys.

The film opens with with a scene set seven months later, when Kurt and Paul have a surprise reunion at an end-of-the-world party on 20 December 2012 in Chicago. So the trajectory of their romance is clear from the start. Filmmaker Birkmeier has a casual directing style catches telling details in each relationship. And yet he seems far more comfortable with depicting drug and alcohol abuse than loving sex. This allows the plot to focus on soapy jealousies that feel completely forced.

Much more interesting is the way these young men struggle with waves of apathy in their relationship, longing for that spark they used to have together. Wigent and Rittenhouse give nicely offhanded performances that build a terrific sense of chemistry and history between their characters. Much of the dialog feels like irrelevant reminiscences ("Remember that time...?"), but it adds to the sense of connection between them. So when they split up, we understand the mopey soul-searching, even though it's seriously annoying.

Aside from its sharp visual approach, there's nothing particularly original about this film. The understated approach helps keep it engaging, and beyond the pushy emotions there's an resonant exploration of youthful idealism, that expectation that a relationship will be perfect and the refusal to accept reality. Perhaps the salient point is that this naive film's idea of major drama seems utterly petty to anyone who has lived through it.

15 themes, language, violence, drugs, sexuality
back to the top R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Keeping Rosy
dir Steve Reeves
scr Mike Oughton, Steve Reeves
prd Isabelle Georgeaux, Richard Holmes
with Maxine Peake, Christine Bottomley, Blake Harrison, Sam Hoare, Elisa Lasowski, Eliza Matthias, Layla Matthias, Tori Hart, Yvonne Wandera, Dominic Geraghty, Ann Penfold, Col Farrell
peake, harrison and bottomley release UK 27.Jun.14
14/UK 1h33
Keeping Rosy A slick freakout with a heart-stopping sting in the tale, this twisty dramatic thriller unravels its central character to reveal surprising shadings. There are a few contrived story elements, but it's a strikingly well-made film that challenges viewers with each ruthless turn of the screw.

Corporate exec Charlotte (Peake) has given up everything for her job, but she's just the promotion she deserved to Tom (Hoare), whose wife (Hart) has just had the baby Charlotte always wanted. Then her day gets even worse, as a bristly altercation with her cleaner (Lasowski) turns accidentally fatal. And Charlotte surprises herself by deciding to hide the body. But no matter what she does to clean up the mess, there's always a new wrinkle. She calls her sister Sarah (Bottomley) for help, then gets a jolt when the smiley Roger (Harrison) turns up.

While it seems far-fetched that a woman this intelligent would do this, it's also clear that Charlotte is someone who does the work herself to make sure it's done right. But everything about this fateful day unravels her carefully ordered world. The title refers to her biggest decision, and it's something that feeds into the pores of the movie. This is brought vividly to life by Peake's transparent performance, which expresses complex thought and emotion in her tightly controlled face.

Director-cowriter Reeves takes a refreshingly minimalistic approach, generating deeply personal suspense without resorting to the usual overwrought movie trickery, although one character's malevolence drifts close. Instead, there are continual twists in the plot that further unsettle both the characters and the audience, sparking consideration about the next move before something spins everything in an all-new direction. So watching Charlotte try to keep everything from falling apart is both fascinating and emotionally involving.

At its core, this movie's plot is a bracingly simple idea that doesn't require much dialog to draw out the dramatic repercussions. Reeves' clever direction fills the screen with suggestion, while the sharp script continually reveals information that makes the situation murkier and messier. As Charlotte plots a path through this minefield, we're never quite sure what she'll do next, which makes the film both engaging and entertainingly terrifying. And Peake's performance carefully refuses to give away what her conscience is telling her, which leaves everything on us.

15 themes, language, violence, sexuality
back to the top R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Leave to Remain
dir-scr Bruce Goodison
prd Kate Cook
with Noof Ousellam, Masieh Zarrien, Yasmin Mwanza, Toby Jones, Ntonga Tango Mwanza, Melanie Wilder, Farshid Rokey, Gloire Mbote, Ebrahim Ismail Qorbat, Dystin Johnson, Nadine Marshall, Jake Davies
zarrien and jones
release UK 20.Jun.14
13/UK 1h29

london film festival
east end film fest
Leave to Remain Nicely shot and played like a TV issue-movie, complete with fairly simplistic characters and high-pitched situations, this film also has a sharp edge because it's based on actual stories. As it follows three teens who arrive in Britain as refugees, the film raises several important issues. And the offhanded approach helps balance the obvious plotting.

At a children's home in London, house manager Nigel (Jones) helps teach the teens English and takes them on trips to explore the city and countryside. The charismatic Omar (Ousellam) has been waiting for his permanent visa for so long that he can't remember which story he's told to whom. Since he comes from the same region in Afghanistan, he helps shellshocked new student Abdul (Zarrien) settle in, although a hint of past tensions starts to emerge. Meanwhile, African housemate Zizidi (Mwanza) is coming out of a life that was full of violence.

All of these teens are under 18, at least officially, and their stories of being attacked by militias and raped by family members are horrific. As is the callously treatment they get in England. Writer-director Goodison lays it on thickly how rude and menacing Brits are to immigrants, which of course sparks the instinct to keep running. Several scenes and story-strands feel oblique and under-developed, leaving key events unexplained while withholding key information until it's no longer relevant.

The young cast is relaxed and natural, creating a terrific sense of camaraderie. Even though we get to know only three of them, it's a colourful group held together by a shared experience. Surreal filmmaking touches try to take us into the characters' minds, but the scenes of them interacting with British authorities are far more telling. These conversations are raw and threatening to children who have fled to a place where they don't speak the language, are treated harshly by cops and the public, and then are doubted by officials.

In the end, the film never quite gets to the bottom of the stories it tells, leaving motivations unclear. The strongest lingering image is of the immigration officers and social workers trying to read these abused children using British non-verbal clues, failing to understand remotely what they have been through, then calling everything they say a lie. So it's hard not to root for these kids as they work the system.

15 themes, language
back to the top Send Shadows your reviews!

< < I N D I E S > >

© 2014 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall