Wednesday, April 28, 2010

None Left Standing

And now we finally start getting back to movies that justify my having gotten this set. None Left Standing is far from a perfect film -- it runs far too long to sustain itself, and completely falls apart once its plot kicks into high gear -- but it has some really neat ideas, some quality dialogue, and seems like everyone had enough fun making it that it almost (though not quite) managed to wash the taste of the last two films out of my mouth.

The film follows three college students as they try to come up with an idea for a short film for their final exam. The teacher in this class is probably my favorite character in the film. She gives a lecture about audience attention spans and why you should always make your film 90 minutes long, and give your first major twist at the 45 minute mark, and so on, that sounds like such terrible, creativity-destroying advice, that I can only assume that it had actually been told to writer-director Samuel Benavides at some point.

The dialogue is really probably the best part of the film, as we get some lines more brilliant than most professional films I’ve seen. For instance, after unintentionally filming a murder, one of the characters debates the morality of making their student film around it by saying “Robbing liquor stores. That’s illegal and people do that every day.” It’s really hard to argue against that brand of logic.

Unfortunately, as I said, this one does fall apart halfway through, when they decide to kick the conflict into high gear and we start getting endless scenes of the villainous friend (I didn’t think to write down any of their names, sorry) making grand statements about how all the world is a film and morality only exists so far as making the best movies goes. Perhaps this was just what their teacher was warning about, but they did lose me here. Still, for something that was quite obviously just a group of friends with no money deciding they needed to make a film together, it’s a lot better than the bulk of its peers. According to IMDB Benavides has made two horror shorts since this, one of which (Mansfield Path) has a trailer on Youtube that looks more expensive than the entirety of this film. I’m curious to see if the shortened length improves them at all.

Rating: **

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