Friday 6 September 2013

Piece for Resistance (2013)

Director: Paulie Jorquera
Stars: Mauricio Gonzales, Chet Worthington, Mason Alford and Carlos Soto
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.
I can't quite figure out whether I like Piece for Resistance or not. It feels like an easy film to ignore, as the bulk of it concerns itself with what happens before a story rather than the more interesting stuff that goes down after one shows up. The action is nothing but setup, the dialogue merely banter and the characters are broadly drawn, so that we're low on detail but high on impression. The 48 hour challenge limit is very apparent in the sound, as the dialogue often sits a little too low in the mix to make it past the music without us having to strain. The acting is variable, but still appropriate for the context, as the film revolves around four friends from high school getting together after six or seven years apart and wondering if a story is ever going to join them. These guys really do feel like they're four friends from high school, alike enough to have chemistry but different enough to highlight why they didn't stay in touch and don't seem like they'd even get along without such a history.

Yet this one has stuck with me, even a couple of months after the IFP Beat the Clock screening in July. Behind the cigar smoke, beer and male bonding, there seems to be something more substantial in play than initially appears. I just haven't figured out what it is yet, beyond a spark that becomes the story just in time for the end credits. Perhaps part of it is how the Ground Zero team snuck in a disco ball, the required prop. Here, it's a relic from high school, just like the four guys, as well as literally a throwaway idea. Nick, the inveterate party animal of the group, tosses it to a friend like a football, who in turn throws it on, each time accompanied by a question or comment. It's a good idea and it drives things forward, even if it's not in a discernible way. Similarly, the use of the required line is obvious, given the circumstances, but still nonetheless perfect. I'm thinking I'll come down on the side of liking this one. Just don't ask me why. I'm still not sure.

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