Stars: Amber Michelle, Michael Coleman, Matthew Crosby, Travis Mills and Anna Grace Bell
|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.|
What's more, It's a better French spy film than The French Spy, a film that was so overtly experimental that it's easy to now believe that its title character was so good at her job that she eluded the Running Wild crew entirely and showed up in a completely different picture. She appears in the form of Amber Michelle who is on the run from moment one, snatching up a large stuffed frog from an apartment and hightailing it out of there, hotly pursued by Michael Coleman and Matthew Crosby. We aren't given any of the things we might expect from a filmmaker: like names, background details, motivations, anything. All we get is two guys chasing a girl carrying a MacGuffin and we have to fill in the rest. While the final scene tells us the nationality of a pair of players and reveals the title to be a pun to boot, it stops short of fleshing out anyone else. Are Coleman and Crosby FBI, Mossad or Russian intelligence? Who knows? It doesn't matter. What matters is merely that they're chasing the MacGuffin.
The end credits also provide one of the two negatives. After the cast are introduced so capably, there's no need for the further footage that includes a solitary blooper, a brief glimpse behind the scenes and gratuitous play with Bandit, the boykin from Boykin. With its strong pace and enigmatic glimpse into a bigger story, Catch the Frog deserves to be a quick jab of a short film, but this extraneous material is more like a distracting hug. The other is half of a positive. We're treated to a number of good locations, as we should be in any action film, and one of them is a covered bridge over an interstate, in which we witness a fight. The choreography by Matthew Crosby is solid, but neither Amber Michelle nor Michael Coleman are able to sell the moves, which lets some power back out of the picture. If this was as much experimentation as challenge submission, that's the one piece that still needs work. All the rest could easily be put to solid use in a future Running Wild feature.
Catch the Frog can be viewed for free at Vimeo or YouTube.