Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Box - Magic on a budget!


So I’ve wanted to do this for some time now, and figured this is as good a time as any to start reviewing & also telling you all about other indie work. After all there are a lot of other people out there doing their own thing, and a lot is worth mentioning here. So I’ll start with a film called “The Box” by Pete Bauer. No we’re not related or anything. Pete is based out of Florida, and he has his own blog too. I first became aware of Pete when he reviewed my film “Deadly Obsessions” for the web site Microcinema. He made some valid points about the film, and I believe I even had purchased a book about microcinema filmmakers he wrote called: “ 20 questions: The Interview series”. In the book Mr. Bauer interviews several micro-budget filmmakers about their films. The book as well as the interviews in it are insightful, and worth reading.

So I ordered a copy of his film “The Box” from his website, and decided to take a look. “The Box” is a drama about a girl who accidentally brings home a box of genetically engineered contagion into her turbulent home life. The film is a very polished looking film, and it certainly is technically solid. I did have problems with the story, but I did like the message of the film which seemed heartfelt, and sincere. I did think that the film could have been shorter, and I realize that Mr. Bauer had re-edited from his original cut, but I still believe the film could have been cut even shorter and tighter. But then again my own film “Deadly Obsessions” suffered from that too and I do know how hard it is to cut some scenes that you really like. To be honest that wasn’t what detracted from the film. What did was the characters in the film. Pete Bauer plays one of the main characters in the film, and I have to say that Bauer isn’t half bad as Dan. I even thought the relationship between Louise (Samantha Grahn) & Dan was interesting. What bothered me was how the characters seemed to be comedic. I realize that comedy in dramas are sometimes like pressure valves. When the drama becomes too serious there is a release for the audience in the form of laughter, but here it doesn’t work for me. The characters seem one dimensional and the added comedic elements feel as though the filmmaker is winking at me distracting me from the plot. The performances are all good, and I smiled at some of the quirks the characters had, but again it just didn’t work for me.

Technically the film is really well done. I even heard the footsteps the filmmakers put in during the chase sequence in the beginning. That attention to detail should be commended especially when a lot of other films lack that detail. All in all I enjoyed the film, and thought that it was a good first film. I even kind of felt empathy for Dan’s character when he explains to his suffering wife that he feels that he was meant for better things. Maybe that theme of “self importance” is something we all can all identify with, and I wish the filmmaker would have explored it more, but then the film would have been a different type of film all together.

The filmmaker is offering the film on his website for the under $10 and if ten dollars is too much Mr. Bauer is offering a non-frills version of his film for $4.99. For that price the film is well worth checking out. Something that I’d like to see would be a director’s comment on the DVD. I believe Mr. Bauer would have some valuable comments on the making of his film that other filmmakers would find helpful, and useful. I do know that adding a commentary up’s the cost of the DVD, but I for one would gladly pay the extra cost to hear the pearls of wisdom that Mr. Bauer has in the making of his film. I know it’s something I wanted to do for my own.

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