Indie Gems: Light and the Sufferer

You wanted to make something happen, right?

I debated using this in my Indie Gem column at first. I liked it, but I still had a few problems with it. Then I realized this is one of those films that NEEDS to be given a chance, because it has one glaring flaw that's going to turn a lot of people off from it.

Paul (Michael Esper) has just dropped out of college. He decides he wants to start a new life in California, and goes to look for his estranged younger brother, Donovan, whom he and his family haven't seen or heard from in a year. (Paul Dano) Eventually he runs into him wandering around a Brooklyn park. Don thinks they could get more money before they leave, so they attempt to rob some dealers he knows, but that doesn't go as planned. Soon after their botched attempt, an alien begins to follow Don. They are relatively known in society, they're referred to as 'Sufferers.' They don't speak, they don't interfere, they just follow. But why they are following is unclear. Do they follow because they need to protect someone in trouble? Or are they a sign of impending death?

This film is based off a short story from Jonathon Lethem (It's part of his The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye collection) and until recently I had no idea they even made it into a film, let alone one starring one of my favorite actors. (Paul Dano) The film is practically identical. The story itself is fascinating, and makes you wish it went beyond it's short 70 minute run time, but then there's that flaw I talked about at the beginning of the review:

This movie has the worst production value I have ever seen. It's like it was shot on a cell phone, then edited with the cheapest computer program out there. THE CGI Sufferer looks like it came straight from DeviantArt. That's what bums me out about this film, more budget would've done it WONDERS and it's a shame it didn't get that. People will see the opening shot and judge it harshly, and not give the full film a try. (Or they'll just go read the story, which isn't a bad thing either) I made fun of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D for being more ambitious than their budget, but now that I watch this, I feel bad for saying that. This was a film that had no budget and therefore couldn't be ambitious with it. They got stuck with using bottom of the line techniques because they had to do something.

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "No one will get hurt." - Don (Paul Dano)

6 comments:

  1. Hmm. Paul Dano = must see for me, but this sounds like it will be unintentionally funny (due to production values alone, I suppose). But what the Hell, right? You had me at 70 MINUTES.

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    1. It is kind of unintentionally funny due to the bad production. Especially the Sufferer. It's a shame, because the movie is pretty damn interesting!

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  2. You had me at "70 minutes", too -- sad to hear they didn't have much to work with, as the plot sounds really really interesting.

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one that appreciates the convenience of a 70 minute movie.

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  3. Ok I'm absolutely in on the 70 minutes train - love me some short movies because they are too rare. Especially in the drama genre, which I guess this is. I'm definitely giving this a shot for your review and Paul Dano.

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.