Directed by: Jack Peterson
Written by: Jack Peterson
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Surrealism in film has always been a hit or miss thing. Especially when speaking micro budget terms. It 'can' be fantastic, when attempting such an art form with no money. Or, it can drag on and on once the gimmick wears off. This is where Jack Peterson's 90 minute film borders on. Far longer than it needed to be, and more than a little bit confusing.
There's a lot of good stuff contained within this title, but a shit load of novice filmmaker mistakes. What constitutes a mistake Vs an artistic outlet? It's hard to say when writing about this particular title. Because it is fantasy and surrealism, it's a tough call to make. What I do know is that it feels very hasty, bloated and hangs in a lot of areas it shouldn't have.
Prime examples are the barrage of sequences such as driving shots, and tracking shots that are so long. They probably take up a good 30-35% of the entire film. And we're talking nothing that moves us forward, just random sequences that serve no purpose. Another area of bloat is the animations. Let me just say this - they were pretty cool. Very surreal and weird feeling. But there were a lot of them and again, some of them just went on and on... and on some more. On numerous occasions Sawgrass felt like a music video, previewing background tracks.
Now, as I wrote, there is some good stuff here. The spread out interview with Eric Paddock, brother of the Las Vegas shooter was interesting. I'm not going to get into his thoughts and opinions because I feel his sequences make this film worth the watch. It's just so strange to see his segments mixed in with this format of film. It does all work somewhat, considering the nature of this film, but is still unusual.
Another thing to note is that this film quickly jumps from fantasy to downright creepy. It's all in the visuals and Peterson's use of animations and real images. A segment with a man and a hoodie, for whatever reason really freaked me out. At first because again, it went on much longer than it should have. Overall, these weird segments add to the overall atmosphere. In a good way.
The truth is this. I had to watch this film in 3 sittings. It just felt really, really long. I don't understand the need to stretch out what could have been done in 20 minutes. On the plus side of the cross? All 3 times I found something I liked amid the chaos. And the atmosphere? It goes from long winded to really freaky, and when things feel strange they really do. Finishing a film is an accomplishment, even if the creator is a little green around the edges. Practice makes perfect. If I were to give advice? Practice editing out what's not essential. Pacing is everything. So although you may not be able to take it all in during one viewing, there's a good chance you'll actually come back and finish the film. That's a good thing. Two and a half stars.