| The Red Right Hand
As most of you may know, I don't usually review independent releases, largely due to the amount of mainstream films I have to focus on; having said that, I do thoroughly enjoy the tightly-knit stories that a low-budget production must adhere to. Granted, there are plenty of terrible flicks out there that have their hearts and minds in the right place but lack either the funding, know-how, talent or passion to really make something of themselves. Spaltro's ...Around on the other hand is an incredibly refreshing journey that I was more than happy to view and remain pleasantly surprised by.
The plot follows the ups and downs of young filmmaker, Doyle Simms [Evans] and his realisation that success is all a matter of perspective. Disconnected and desperate to break free of his dysfunctional family, Doyle leaves New Jersey with his eye on becoming a filmmaker in the 'big city' - as most youngsters discover, it's more difficult than he initially predicted but pride and an almost delusional determination keep him in New York. When his funding is cut, Doyle is forced to lead a double life, sleeping in Penn Station, working any job he can get whilst still attending school (albeit half-heartedly) and pursuing the affection of young hostess, Allyson [Ryman]. As the years pass, Doyle befriends a homeless bookseller named Saul [Brice], who acts as his guide through the city's ripped backside, all the while taunting him with the truth that the only difference between them is their time on the street, that the mindset of living on the cuff is emblazoned and as such, irreversible.
Part of what I enjoyed about this film was the writing, keenly identifying underlying subtexts and issues that bolted everything together. Without the dysfunctional family or Doyle's ever-growing disconnection from socially-accepted society or even discovering that not everyone needs to be what is expected or considered 'norm', this film would have been loose, unyielding and a bit of an endurance. As with every independent release, it has its unpolished moments and a few wooden lines that felt a tad forced but these are niggles that one expects (and to a certain degree encourages) within independent cinema - in my opinion, a certain flair of amateurism serves only to further the realism of the story on-screen. Those involved with the production, both visually and aurally, have demonstrated a wealth of ability and aptness to produce a movie to be wholly proud of. Overall it's an extremely well written piece harbouring a great deal of potential and if you're looking for a unique, interesting, personal tale about self discovery, ...Around is a damn good starting point.
The Scene To Look Out For:
**Little spoilery bit at the end... sort of**
As stated, I'm a bit of a fan of the writing and although it could be seen as pilfering a few things, whether subliminally done or otherwise, I almost understand and condone this. Our lead is a film buff/fan, of course, he's going to sit there talking about films, it's his passion, it's only natural that his outbursts feel like they've been seen or done on-screen before. But I digress, there is a fair mix of drama, tension and humour in this release and one of my favourite representations of this is when Doyle is first informed that he incorrectly completed his application for funds and as such will be penniless soon. The interaction between the twisted bursar and himself is thoroughly enjoyable. However, analysing the more serious note, I was also captivated by the performances of Doyle's self-outing to Allyson, confessing his homelessness and inability to connect with those around him.
Our two leads helm this film with exceptional vigour and control of their craft but I found myself drawn in by two of the supporting roles; namely, Berenice Mosca as Doyle's emotionally fractured mother, Theresa and Ron Brice's portrayal of the sage-like Saul. As stated, the work by all involved was commendable and praiseworthy but these two individuals exuded a certain degree of finesse that is largely uncommon in low-budget cinema.
"All you need to live is out there. The shit I sell, it's of no value to me or anyone but they think it is. I mean, you know, it's like it fills some kind of void. Like it makes a home or a life and ten minutes later they just toss it back on the street for new shit"
In A Few Words:
"Films like this are the reason I love independent cinema"