Directed by: Benjamin Rider
Written by: Benjamin Rider
Length: 113 minutes
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Our Little Haven
I've yet to be born... but I am already alive. How's that for a brain twisting statement? If it's the kind of thing you like to hear or read, this title is probably worth a look. Produced and directed by Benjamin Rider, I would really love to be able to give you a 'real' description of this title; but I don't feel confident enough with my grasp of the story to do so. Truthfully, anyone who thinks the screenplay itself is a mess would not be completely wrong. Equally truthful is that as messy as this movie at first seems, calling it such is a total non-truth. It just takes some attention and time to begin seeing how things fit together. If 'fitting together' is what you want to call it. 'Our Little Haven' is not just a collection of random, weird and strange stories and characters. Things do connect and become apparent. Eventually. With a length of around two hours and a surreal, dreamy pacing, it just may be hard for some people to give it the required time.
For a large chunk of this title, we're peering in at a lot of one sided conversations. A lot of times even the same conversations other characters have had. Word for word. When I write one sided I literally mean that. Single character monologues meant to be between two people, but we only witness the one side mostly. This isn't the entire movie, and at some point you'll get to see things for what they are, but again, only if you give it the time. It's all very stylistic and intentional.
Throughout the film I kept thinking of auditions. Sides. Line reads by potential cast mates for directors. This movie constantly feels like a long running casting reel save the interwoven narrative, over dream like wide shots and blurry images. When not feeling like a casting demo, 'Our Little Haven' felt like a diary or something. Brought to life by a large ensemble and at times very sad.
When I started watching this film I was a little overwhelmed by the aesthetic of the title. The use of filters and blurs, color and contrast all came together to create a very unusual look. Like everything else in this film, it all makes sense in a dreamy kind of way as you progress through the film. As it turns out, this surreal imagery and visual weirdness was actually one of the highlights. The chance Mr. Rider took with the unusual look and feel really paid off in my eyes. The presentation of 'Our Little Haven' makes up a good chunk of my final rating. Mixed with the surreal edit, acting and overall unique screenplay, watching this title really does induce a kind of trance. You just have to let Rider's film do it's thing. Give yourself up to it. It's really no stretch of my imagination, to say this is one of the most unique titles I've seen. It even becomes hard to find flaws in this production, because for all I know, the flaws were on purpose. Not actually flaws at all.
For all my praises of originality and uniqueness this will not be a film for the general population. In my opinion that is. 'Our Little Haven' is a picture for the dreamers and thinkers of the world. The people who can get past pacing, length and hypothetical filmmaking. This 'is' a title for those hypothetical movers and shakers. A film to maybe debate over, try and articulate who sees what and argue the finer points. It's also possible that I got lost in the dream and myself, have been overthinking things. One thing is certain. 'Our Little Haven' is different. Different is always good.