A young woman celebrates her birthday with some friends and a few strangers in Douglas Reece’s new film The Lonesome.
Although (according to IMDB) he has made an incredible thirty three films since 2008, The Lonesome happens to be the very first production by Douglas Reece that has managed to land upon our desks here at Screen Critix. Churning out so many films in so little time is quite the achievement, so we were certainly looking forward to reviewing his latest piece.
It’s Joi’s (played by Joi Itapson) birthday and the twenty-something has no plans to go out and celebrate, even though she is offered the chance to go bar-hopping and to catch a show from her friend Caity (Caity Jones). Instead, she prefers the idea of spending the day cooked up in her flat with a couple of friends and strangers. Those being Trace and his girlfriend Tesla, Ashton and Jessica.
The group spend the majority of the film just sitting down in the living room, drinking coffee and chatting, though some drama does come out of it. Jessica is upset that nobody told her that her ex-boyfriend Trace would be at the “party” with his new girlfriend, Ashton goes mental over Jessica being a few minutes late and dropping a birthday cake and Joi spends the duration moping around whilst needing the basic love of her mother who, it seems, couldn’t give two hoots about her daughter.
I’m unsure if being a fly-on-the-wall was Douglas Reece’s desired intention for his audience, but the way the film was shot gave that effect. It just seemed so realistic like it could have been done by a documentary crew following a group of people over the course of one day. The lines seem to be delivered as if it was all ad-libbed with no actual script to recite other than the basic backgrounds of each character to go off and little scenarios to act out. This isn’t actually a problem, in doing so, it gave the production a little charm about it.
I did have some issues with the technical aspects though. The audio wasn’t great. It felt like it was recorded using an on-camera microphone and it was hard to make out what some of the actors were saying, especially whenever Trace spoke, it was inaudible mumbling for the most part. The lighting, production design and shot composition weren’t up to scratch either and I feel that, with a little help from some knowledgeable additional crew members could have worked wonders for the production.
The story is okay, but could have worked so much better if there wasn’t an over abundance of filler throughout. Do we really need to see a minute of putting on lipstick and five minutes of a girl cutting up a mango? It’s obvious that the 45 minute effort was made on little to no money and that has to be commended, but when you have nothing but equipment and actors to work with, you really do need to make sure the script and story is paced as well as it possibly can be and time is used to make sure each shot is lit right and is interesting.
Douglas Reece does show some promise though and I feel that, if he can find some like-minded individuals, he can make something truly special. Just make sure everything is as good as it can be before shouting “Action!”.