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Friday, 13 January 2012

Tinted Windows (2009)

Directors: Adam DeKraker
Stars: Toby Levin and Adam Halpin
This film was an official selection at the 3rd Phoenix Fear Film Fest in Tempe in 2010. Here's an index to my reviews of 2010 films.
Charlie apparently didn't have a great time at the party tonight. He's tired, his friends are jerks and he's going home. When he gets to his car though he finds someone outside it, someone who desperately wants a lift. He'll even pay a thousand bucks for a ride, apparently because he likes Charlie's tinted windows. Given that I saw Tinted Windows at a horror festival, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what the gimmick to this short is but it's a capable concept that's explained well by writer/director Adam DeKraker. Initially it felt stupid and overly simple, but every time I came up with a reason why it was dumb the characters promptly explained why it wasn't. By the time the credits rolled after eleven minutes of cat and mouse, I found myself admiring how ambiguous the stranger's character was. Is he really good at what he does or really bad at what he does? I could provide a decent case for either side and I like that.

There are only two actors in the film, played by Toby Levin and Adam Halpin, and while they aren't going to win Oscars any time soon they're natural actors who do credit to the material. In the same way that the story won me over against initial complaints, so did the actors. Charlie isn't particularly bright and his dialogue and demeanour reflect that, but Levin's acting helps to hammer that home: delivering occasionally repetitive lines without stage school aplomb makes him seem very real. Similarly Halpin plays the stranger well, his occasional imperfections initially noticed but then rationalised as just an imperfect role the character is playing. Again, is he really good or really bad? In fact the whole film is deceptively simple but could be read in many ways. The script may well be intended as a metaphor for unprotected gay sex, but it doesn't matter. Anyone whose interest is piqued will be able to find their own meaning in it.

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