Director: Matt Walting
Writer: Layla O’Shea
Stars: Katerina Eichenberger, Max MacKenzie, William Galatis
Plot: Sarah slashes down the days to her summer vacation trip with all the gusto of Zorro and his infamous ‘Z’, until she discovers her best friend’s plot to end his life while she’s away.
Running Time: 1 hour 46 Minutes
IMDB Score: 9.4
Why I Watched it: The subject matter and the trailer looked interesting.
Random Thoughts: Now the film is just beginning to get some notice on the festival circuit, a small indie film with a first time director. Always enjoying seeing new filmmakers and actors.
What I Liked: Now the subject matter is not only touchy but very tricky to handle and when you’re dealing with teen suicide then you turn the dial up to eleven. I think the handled the subject with respect and also restraint and to be honest the film was never heavy handed on the subject a lot of credit goes to Max MacKenzie his performance was understated, he didn’t walk around with a sign that said I want to kill myself we got to see him in daily life and the strain that put on him. The film was very smart not to point to one thing, it’s a series of things and I think they make a point that the reason is varied and sometimes very hard for the people to talk about. It was clear he wasn’t looking for attention, he was in pain but I also got the sense that he was tired of a life that made no rhyme or reason. As good as MacKenzie was I also very impressed with Katerina Eichbenbeger, she had an ease about her, for a young actress with not a lot of credits to her name or IMDB page I never caught her acting, she felt not only very real but a kind of person you would have been lucky to have as a best friend. Her role is hard cause she’s the person who knows and it would have been easy to just make it about her and what she has to do and the guilt she has to deal with but they do a very nice job of showing their friendship and relationship.
That’s another thing I think this film does very well is show a friendship especially one in high school, their friendship rang very real and true. They also touch on if either was “in love” with the other but it was clear they loved each other deeply and cared about each other. The film does a nice job of dealing with the subject of suicide from both sides, cause it does effect other people no one of course lives in a vacuum. They do a very good job of showing the frustrations on both sides and the tole it takes on everyone. I’m torn with the third act and I don’t want to give anything away and there’s parts I liked and some that just rubbed me the wrong way but the one thing it did well was show that there’s no easy answers and maybe there’s no real happy ending either way.
What I didn’t Like: The pacing was a bit slow and I think it would serve the film to at least cut ten at least ten minutes the flow almost stops in the middle of the film, I thought we were heading to the end and realize they was over thirty minutes left, it just needed to be tighter for my taste. I wish they could have saved some of the melodrama and I don’t mean with the teenagers cause those two go hand in hand, but the father of MacKenzie’s character is a mess, I mean family secrets, being a drunk, it felt a bit much and oddly I thought the teenage characters were well drawn out but the adults were lucky to have two dimensions. I understood the backstory of the mother committing suicide and what they meant to the father and son but the father comes off as a cliche and the son came off more believable. Like I said I’m mixed with the ending, I wished it was happier, I’ll say that and I do understand that we don’t always get super happy ending but I wanted one just the same.
Final Thoughts: I enjoyed it, I really appreciated the approach to the subject matter, no fingers were pointed here, no blame just someone struggling and the people around them that it effected.