Taking a hiatus from my movie reviews- mostly because I’m utterly convinced it only appealed to about 8 readers on our site haha- I decided to return to the topic by taking up my most needy of genres: the indie. Now, before you click away, do give it a chance! Independent film has brought us some of the most revered and unexpected great ones of our time: “Requiem For a Dream”, “Trainspotting” and even “Juno”. Admittedly, my pics haven’t received as famous acclaim, but that’s what I’m here to do for ’em. I’m looking at three darker pics- quelle surprise- that offer some new stories told by new actors on all new cinematic mediums. From “London to Brighton” to “Ink” to “Eden Log”, I’m gonna do my best to show you some great movies you’ve been passing over at the store for months now.
[God that’s cute, pretending people still get movies from stores]
While visited the tiny but lively coastal town of Brighton years ago while living in England, I was in homo heaven. Little known is the fact that this city- mostly known for its giant seaside amusement park- is actually the gay capitol of Britain. Per capita I was told this place held the most mo for your money; so, clubbing there was a fun treat. Me finally hooking up with the wildly hung DJ I had been trying to date at the time aside, I had no clue what I was getting into with this movie other than an interest in the proposed titular locale. What I got, was a brilliant, dark and matriarchal drama that never let up. First off, it needs to be said that Lorraine Stanley- an actress you’ve never heard of- is perfect in the protagonist role in this film. Playing the tragic and used, aged prostitute- keep in mind she’s about 20 in this- Lorraine is an empathetic mix of fighter and protector as she takes up a homeless, pre-teen ward and attempts to save her from an encroaching life of drugs and the British sex trade. Purloining the girl from the hands of a psychotic redhead (go figure), the girls attempt a Little Red Riding Hood-esque adventure towards the southernmost tip of England to escape capture and death. Going through nearly the entire movie with a huge black eye and the rattiest of accents, the main actress makes this movie and holds your attention and heart (forgive the lameness, but watch it and you’ll believe me) until the very end. It’s violent, and fast-paced with a great dialogue: the only thing more engrossing is the honest and dreary backdrop of the worst parts of lower, lower-class London. Watch the preview and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what it’s about and you’ll see some of the huge accolades it garnered nearly a decade ago when it came out.
London To Brighton – Trailer
Now, this was a bit of a weird one. Basically, the premise for this extremely indie indie is: “Little girl kidnapped by a night monster while a personalized sandman searches her out.” Yes, it sounds a bit childish and akin to a fairy tale, but this one has some interesting takes on both story and style. The plot is a split between the depressing life of a wildly successful workaholic and a ‘napped girl being pulled through a parallel and tainted version of some random- knowing indies- Canadian downtown metropolis. Not without some complexity, the antagonist- a horrendous physical manifestation of the worst aspects of human nature (watching the film will make that sound less douchey I promise)- is basically the focus of the story as he attempts to sell his stolen girl for access at a higher status amongst the evil higher ups. Again, while it sounds like this movie is strictly for Dungeon & Dragon lovers, it does hold some beautiful dream landscapes and horrific scenes of original nightmares that don’t cost an “Avatar’s” production budget either. This movie won’t change your life, nor is the “twist” akin to that experienced the first time you watched “The Sixth Sense”, but it does warrant an hour and a half of your time. Not all that glitters on the big screen is gold, and often some great gems- like this one- are found in lower budget and little-marketed productions. I know I sound like the poster boy for independent film, but there’s often more originality in a film that can’t rely on grandiose CGI to keep your interest. This flick creates its own fantastic world and convoluted religion to express a story about commitment and devotion. A bit hard to find, but definitely a feather in your “obscure movie compendium of knowledge” cap if you do ;)
Ink – Trailer
Okay, remember how I told you the last movie was weird… this one is nearly off the charts. A post-apocalyptic view of the world gone underground and nearly all made insane- the dozen few that seem to remain in the film’s view- “Eden Log” is a complicated tale told from the point of view of a recently woken adult man with the memory of a severe amnesiac. Covered in slime and mud, the main character discovers himself trapped in a cave as he spelunks his way through the futuristic machine that destroyed the world above by trying to convert earth into energy. A common theme to be sure, the film combines didactic exposition through creepy flashes of pre-recorded videos about the purpose and process involved in the subterranean machine with the thrilling chase of men-turned-monsters as they attempt to eat up our story’s leading man. Maybe it’s a bit of a love for all things futuristic and oddly enough all things green, but I really dug (that pun was for Patrick) this film’s depressing look at a world turned prehistoric by the advances of science. It’s also probably the psychologist in me, but show me a blank slate- à la “Memento”- and I’m instantly hooked as they try to understand who they are and what the world is within the span of a movie. This movie is extremely dark (literally this time) so you’re mostly propelled by what you hear and what you can imagine as the viewer. Like reading a well-written novel, this film allows you to fill in your favorite parts with your own perception of what the scene should look like rather than what the director wants it to look like. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some visual brilliance- especially during the fight scenes- but as per typical indie-style, this movie is about substance and soul of which it has plenty. Twisted and terrifying at parts, you’ll be happy you pushed yourself through the first few slow minutes once you reach the end.
Eden Log – Trailer