Over the break, between relaxing with friends and family and eating my bodyweight in food, I took on the challenge to review three lesser known independent films. As someone who is always looking for another satisfying and possibly peculiar Indie film, this challenge was not necessarily difficult, but a fun way to unwind. To make the review more interesting, I chose three movies from three different genres, in order for you to get a taste of the broad spectrum of Indie films.
I started with the science fiction and romantic comedy piece, “TiMER.” Directed by Jac Schaeffer and released back in 2009, this film stars Emma Caulfield as Oona O’Leary. Centering on a woman about to turn thirty waiting for her one true love to come sweep her off of her feet. , this is not a cliche romcom, and that is because of a fad known as TiMER. TiMER is a plastic band injected into the wrist of anyone who wants to know when their true love will meet them.
For our unlucky protagonist, her TiMER has not begin its countdown because her true love has not gotten his own. However, one man named Mikey, makes her wonder if the TiMER really works. Maybe it is only a self fulfilling prophecy. As all romantic comedies go, Oona falls in love with Mikey, or at least she thinks.
“TiMER” could be considered similar to other movies in which we have fighting siblings and their rivalries, relationship issues and a family who feels the necessity to pry into every member’s life. While the protagonist and her family are stubborn and follows their own rules to love, they become irritating mid-way through. Oona and Mikey had amazing chemistry, which is a huge plus in any romcom. Definitely interesting enough to watch again, ”TiMER” is good for a short romantic romp
Next up was “52 Tuesdays.” A coming-of-age film unlike many others, it features a teenage girl having to watch her mother transition into a transgendered man for an entire year. “52 Tuesdays,” directed by Sophie Hyde, is similar to a reality TV show by its constant breaking of the fourth wall and its lack of scripted dialogue.
It shows the awkward dynamic of this middle class Australian family as they work through comprehending identity struggles. James makes Billie move in with her Dad so that James’ transition is smoother, without the hassle of ceaseless questions and remarks by her curious teenage daughter, yet this makes things worse.
It has raw and in-your-face moments about their trials that gives a great deal of insight into their situation. As ‘hiccups’ occur along the way, James and Billie grow farther apart, while Billie is also trying to find her own sexual identity with two new friends at school.
The movie has a well put together feel, with its simple cinematography which plays well against the characters internal and external struggles. The movie is thought-provoking by the way it makes you stop and ask yourself: “What is an authentic life?” However, for some this movie would be slow because it is primarily a film about characterization, focusing on the lives of a mostly regular family until the end rolls around shaking up their own kind of mundane. I could see this being hard rewatch, but it’s a film you must see at least once.
Lastly, the crime film “Victoria” is a about a lonely girl who moved from Madrid to Berlin where she meets a group of men at a club and is quickly drawn to their humor. Victoria, unable to understand her new friend’s German conversations, ignorantly follows them around the city until things begin to turn astray.
Directed by Sebastian Schipper, this film was created in a single shot, making it have a raw and natural appeal because it feels unchoreographed unlike many other crime films. The film can feel a bit meandering – it drags on for forty-five minutes in the beginning showing us how Victoria becomes so trusting of her new found friends. When the movie picks up its action it gave me anxiety because I really could not pinpoint what was coming next.
“Victoria” is not simply about crime. A single piano scene gives us a doorway into the film’s emotions. Yet, at times this did not matter when all I wanted to do was scream at the naive Victoria to get away from these strangers who pulled her into a life-or-death situation. Unfortunately, the nearly two and a half hours of film was too long for me and I would probably not watch it again, yet it was definitely a new take on a crime-thriller that I appreciated.
Though Spring Break is now over, it is always a good idea to have a few movies on your list to watch when you need a break. All of these are available on Netflix, and hopefully one or two of these end up on your list.