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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Drink (2013)

Directors: Stephanie Joyce and Ravi Devineni
Stars: McKenna McFadden, Rene Schlimm, Damian Reese, Rhonda McFadden, Artie Johnston, Tyler Reese and Haley Reese
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.
After Inflated and Star Babies, anything with flaws was going to fall a little flat, which is unfortunate as Drink is almost a good movie. There's a lot of good here, a lot of it a little more complex than might be expected for a 48 hour film, but it doesn't quite come together in the end. I'm still trying to figure out quite why it doesn't, but it doesn't gel the way it should. The idea is certainly a good one, as a couple of strangers sit together at Lux Coffee Bar and wonder about their imaginary relationship. It's all small talk, with no grounding in reality, just to pass the time, but they're not the only ones wondering. Their barista clearly wonders too and offers them a little more attention than would seem appropriate. One neat approach Drink takes is to merge the two imaginings together, not as a communal thing but for cinematic effect. The editing needed to make this work is sharp and the musical theme that underpins it all is decent too, if as fluffy as the conversation. It flows very well indeed.

The lesser elements aren't as bad as the stronger elements are good, but there are a few of them. The most annoying is surely the fact that this barista appears to deliver empty cups of coffee but nobody notices, including herself. The most frustrating is the inconsistency. The main section features quality acting from Rene Schlimm and Damian Reese as the non-couple, while McKenna McFadden grins far too much at the camera as their barista. She persists into the final section and improves no end, with substance replacing the smiles, but her foil is almost inaudible behind the music. I liked the last line, which presumably explains why this film was made, but it ought to have had more grounding to back it up, especially in Lux with its preponderence of typewriters as ambient background. This is a really good idea and it's mostly put together well. It just doesn't quite work yet. If Filmnasty Productions has more time available than the 48 hours allowed for Beat the Clock, this could become a worthy short.

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