fredag 13 januari 2017

Road to the Well (med exklusiv intervju)



Titel: Road to the Well
Genre: Thriller
Land: USA
År: 2016
Regi: Jon Cvack
I rollerna: Laurence Fuller, Micah Parker, Marshall R. Teague, Barak Hardley

***An English version can be found below the Swedish text as well as a Q&A with the director, Jon Cvack.***

Handling: Dagdrivaren Jack besöker sin gamle vän Frank, vars vardagliga liv ställs på högkant när de två blir inblandade i ett märkligt och till synes slumpmässigt mord.

Omdöme: Lite kort om filmens inledning. Frank (Laurence Fuller) har ett kontorsjobb och en flickvän. Han lever ett ganska normalt liv. Så blir han av sin chef erbjuden att under ett par månader ta en annan position inom företaget som innebär att han kommer jobba längre norrut i landet. När hans gamle vän Jack (Micah Parker) dyker upp och vill umgås, går de två ut och firar. Samma kväll ertappar Frank sin flickvän med att vara otrogen med hans chef. Då raggar han upp en attraktiv tjej i en bar och tar henne till sin bil där de kan ha lite "kul". Plötsligt dyker det upp en maskerad och beväpnad man och allt svartnar för Frank. När han vaknar upp ligger han bredvid sin bil och är avklädd med blod på sig...



Emellanåt ser man filmer man vet väldigt lite om, utan en känd regissör eller några kända namn i rollistan. Detta är en sådan film, en relativt liten film. Man kan säga att man får en neo-noir med inslag av bröderna Coen. Det är nämligen en ganska mörk historia som snabbt blir till en levande mardröm för inte minst Frank, men även Jack som blir indragen i det hela när Frank behöver hans hjälp. Men detta är inte en helt nattsvart historia då det på sina håll blir något komiskt, utan att bli en komedi.



När man inte känner till regissören eller skådespelarna, har man inget att jämföra med. Vad gäller prestationerna så är de framförallt i de tre stora rollerna genomgående bra. Laurence Fuller som Frank och Micah Parker som Jack funkar bra ihop där Micah Parker känns mest komfortabel i sin roll. När veteranskådespelaren Marshall R. Teague dyker upp (bl.a. roller i Road House, The Rock och Armageddon) får man också några av filmens bästa scener. Hela sekvensen i hans stuga är på alla sätt och vis tät, välspelad och välgjord.



Filmen har ett par scener som höjer sig över mängden, som greppar tag i en och väcker ens intresse. Det är definitivt en styrka med filmen att den lyckas få fram det lilla extra med jämna mellanrum. Dessutom har man genomgående bra musik som skapar den rätta stämningen och ett foto som till stora delar är till belåtenhet. Dock är filmen inte utan sina brister.



Jag tror att det hade varit till filmens fördel om filmens speltid på runt 105 minuter hade kortats ner en aning. Vissa scener hade man kanske kunnat vara utan medan andra blir lite utdragna, speciellt under första halvan av filmen. Vissa skådespelare i mindre roller funkar mindre bra i jämförelse med huvudpersonerna, men det stör inte nämnvärt. Det gör dock att man liksom kommer ihåg att det är en liten film trots att den sett till hela filmen gör en hel del bra. Hade bara vissa scener tagits bort och några gjorts lite bättre, så hade resultatet blivit ännu bättre.



Trots vissa svagheter är det ofrånkomligt att filmens regissör, manusförfattare och producent Jon Cvack uppvisar klar potential och den rätta känslan för att skapa denna fina lilla neo-noir. Det är en klart lovande långfilmsdebut och det känns faktiskt lite lockande att se vad han kan göra framöver då han uppenbarligen har talang.


---

Story: Drifter, Jack, pays a visit to an old friend, Frank whose mundane life is upended after the two become involved in a strange and seemingly random murder and journey up to the Northern California Sierra in order to bury the body.

Opinion: First a bit about the film's opening. Frank (Laurence Fuller) has an office job and a girlfriend. He lives a pretty normal life. His boss offers him another position in the company, which means that for a couple of months he'll work further up north in the country. When his old friend Jack (Micah Parker) shows up and wants to hang out, the two of them go out and celebrate. The same evening, Frank catches his girlfriend cheating on him with his boss. He then picks up an attractive girl in a bar and takes her to his car for some "fun". Suddenly, a masked and armed man appears and everything goes dark for Frank. When he wakes up, he's lying next to his car, stripped to his bloody underwear...

Occasionally one sees a film one knows very little about, without a known director or known names in the cast. This is such a film, a relatively small film. You could say you're getting a neo-noir with elements of The Coen brothers. It's quite a dark story that quickly becomes a living nightmare for Frank, but also for Jack who gets involved when Frank needs his help. But it's not a completely bleak story as it has some comical aspects, though it's not a comedy.



When you don't know the director or the actors, you don't have anything to compare with. As for the performances, they're mainly good in the three major roles. Laurence Fuller as Frank and Micah Parker as Jack work well together, with Micah Parker being the most comfortable in his role. When veteran actor Marshall R. Teague appears (with roles in Road House, The Rock and Armageddon), you also get some of the film's best scenes. The entire sequence in his cottage is taut, well-acted and well-made.

The film has a few scenes that stand out, that engage you and raises one's interest. It's definitely a strength of the film that it manages to bring out something a bit extra every now and then. Moreover, it has consistently good music that creates the right atmosphere and cinematography that largely captures the moment. However, the film is not without its flaws.



I believe the film would benefit if the running time of around 105 minutes was slightly trimmed. Some scenes might've perhaps been removed while others feel a bit protracted, especially during the first half of the film. Some of the actors in the smaller parts don't work as well as the main characters, but it doesn't really bother too much. It does, however, make you remember that it's a small movie, even though it does a lot of the right things if you look at the whole film. Had only certain scenes been removed and some been slightly improved, the result would've been even better.

Despite some weaknesses, it's inevitable that the film's director, writer and producer Jon Cvack has obvious potential and the right touch to create this nice little neo-noir. It's a promising feature-length debut and it actually feels a bit intriguing to see what he can do in the future as he's clearly talented.

3 - Skådespelare / Acting
3 - Handling / Story
3 - Känsla / Feeling
4 - Musik / Music
3 - Foto / Cinematography
--------------
16 - Totalt / Total

Betyg / Rating:
Mitt IMDb-betyg / My IMDb-rating: 6.5
IMDb: 8.1

---

The following is an exclusive interview with director Jon Cvack.


From what I understand, this was your feature-length debut. How did you get it made and how many days did it take to shoot the movie?

JC: It’s a pretty long story, but long story short we were financed by friends and family, along with a successful KickStarter campaign in which we raised $41,000. Still, at only $100,000 budget we were still considered a micro budget production. The entire financing process took over 18 months, during which I was constantly revising the script in order to make it feasible. Not having any studio, rich uncle, or generous benefactor to turn to when the money dried up, I basically I had to take all my surplus income from side work and put it back into the movie. I didn’t want something as silly as money to prevent us from reaching the finish line. All in all, we had 19 days of production, extended over 24 days, with half shot in Los Angeles and the other near Lake Tahoe in Northern California.


The three main actors, Laurence Fuller, Micah Parker and Marshall R. Teague, can you tell me a bit how you came about casting them?

JC: We were fortunate enough to get our casting directors Billy DaMota and Dea Vise through my former acting teacher Marcie Smolin at The Actors Circle in Culver City, CA. They’re both part of the CSA, having casted hundreds of projects, and brought invaluable insight to the process. They were able to get us all three performers. Without Billy and Dea we would have been lost.


Did you have any films that acted as inspiration for this film?

JC: Of course, working with a micro-budget as many first time filmmakers are required to do, the classic works of Aronofsky’s "Pi", Linklater’s "Slacker", Kevin Smith’s "Clerks", and Jim Jarmusch’s "Stranger than Paradise" were all influential. I've always admired their ability to do whatever they had to do in order to get their first movie made. However, it was larger films like Blood Simple, Rope, and Sideways that really had a strong impact on the overall narrative.


Who are your favorite directors? Do you have someone in particular that has inspired you?

JC: Although this changes month to month, my favorite directors are currently Paul Thomas Anderson, Louis Malle, Billy Wilder, and Werner Herzog. I also think Denis Villeneuve is one of the most exciting filmmakers to come about in over a decade.


Do you have any plans for your next feature-length film? If so, could you tell me a bit about it or what you'd like to do.

JC: I actually just finished the script about a week ago after working on it for these past nine months. I was racing to get it done before Road to the Well was released. I can’t really talk about the details just yet, but we’ll have some very exciting news soon enough! Let's just say it's a type of chamber-drama, ensemble thriller.





I'd like to thank Jon Cvack for not only giving Movies - Noir a chance to see Road to the Well, but also for answering our questions and more. Greatly appreciated and we wish him all the best with future projects!

Visit http://www.roadtothewell.com for information on how to watch it.

2 kommentarer:

  1. I was positively surprised by this movie given the small budget and that it was the movie-debut by the director.

    I have seen many movies with far larger budgets and more experienced directors that have failed to deliver in the same manner as this movie.

    I agree that the movie would have benefitted from having the running time trimmed a little. This is a common mistake by inexperienced directors. Many future (and current) great directors have done it.

    It’s difficult to “kill your darlings” and actually shorten or delete certain scenes. However, it’s a minor issue as I thought the actors did well (especially Mr.Teague).

    The cinematography was well above average for a film of this magnitude (budget wise), as well as the music and editing.

    The director is clearly talented, so I am looking forward to what he will do in the future when he is given a larger budget to work with.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Thank you for the lengthy comment! You seem to share most of my views regarding Road to the Well.

      I agree with you that one has to be impressed given the small budget. I'll take a well-made indie film like this over a big budget blockbuster without heart every day of the week.

      I still think about some of the scenes from the film and the more I think of it, the more I like it. Though I still feel the running time could've been around 80-90 minutes to make the story feel a bit tigther. But all in all, I was satisfied for sure.

      Radera