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Monday, 26 August 2013

Wouldn't Be Love (2013)

Director: Mack Duncan
Stars: Rachel Tullio, Bill Binder and Jon Jahrmarkt
This film was a submission to one of the IFP Phoenix film challenges in 2013. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 submissions.
There's some substance in Wouldn't Be Love that's worthy of attention, but it's swamped by the sort of technical difficulties that we're conditioned into expecting from films created from scratch in a mere 48 hours. Perhaps above everything else, competitions like IFP Beat the Clock serve to highlight that this is a false expectation and that filmmakers can conquer it, once they rack up enough experience. What's surprising here is that CareFree Write are hardly new kids on the block, even in such contests. They've been making films since the year 2000, many of which were 24 hour or 48 hour films shot for IFP challenges and some of which won awards. Clearly I should go back and watch titles like It's Done, Big Benevolent Wolf and Menagerie of Space, but in the meantime, this one is tough because of the sound. There are sync problems, and there's wildly inconsistent background noise. It vanishes when the score arrives, only to rush back in when it stops again, as if it's filling a vacuum.

In fact, technically it's problematic across the board. The editor missed a 'Rolling!' and the lighting is often dark, albeit much better than the sound. And this is all unfortunate because it muddies a decent script, written by director Mack Duncan from a story he wrote with Bill Binder, who's the leading man. It plays as a meditation on how tough it is for a guy to figure out a girl, at a particularly crucial point in their relationship. Alex sets the scene at the outset by sneaking out of David's place while he's asleep, but he notices and thus we get a story. The neatly ambiguous ending leaves us wondering if they'd be better off had he not woken up or whether everything's about to change. I'd lean towards the former. They have a great time together, but Alex is about to leave for New York and David isn't. Rachel Tullio does a great job as Alex and Binder is pretty good as David too, but it's how they're woven together that shines brightest. If Duncan can clean this up in post, we may even get to see it shining.

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