1 item from 2002
An auspicious feature debut demonstrating its helmer's ability to sustain an intense but understated mood, Andrew Currie's "Mile Zero" plows familiar ground in an unfamiliar way. The tale of a separated father's increasingly desperate attempts to maintain control of his young son, the Canadian film is an engrossing, if at times repetitive, low-key thriller featuring a riveting performance by Michael Riley in the lead role. Although too downbeat to attract commercial interest, it should do well on the festival circuit and will serve as an impressive calling card. It recently received its U.S. premiere at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.
The film revolves around Derek Ridley (Riley), a loving but pathetic man still enamored of his wife despite the fact that she has hooked up with another guy. Frantically trying to regain control of his family, Derek resorts to increasingly desperate attempts to maintain his presence, such as showing up unexpectedly at his former home to present his ex with breakfast in bed, going through her garbage and surreptitiously videotaping his young son's bedroom. When Derek impulsively decides to kidnap his young son and transport him to the wilderness, the film takes a much darker tone, with the young son finally realizing the extent of his father's mental disintegration.
At first, Derek is such a likable character that one can't help but feel sympathy for him. Michael Melski's clever screenplay slowly and methodically illustrates, however, just how far around the bend Derek has gone, and the slow buildup yields satisfying dramatic results, with only the sometimes confusing time shifts in the story's chronology detracting from the overall impact.
Riley delivers a complex, fascinating performance as the tortured hero, allowing the audience to identify fully with his character even at his most irrational. Connor Widdows is equally impressive as the increasingly frightened child, and Sabrina Grdevich is properly sympathetic as the aggrieved ex. Technical credits are first-rate, with particularly excellent contributions from Don Macdonald's guitar music score and Robert Aschmann's evocative cinematography.
Director: Andrew Currie
Screenwriter: Michael Melski
Producers: Trent Carlson, Blake Corbet
Director of photography: Robert Aschmann
Editor: Reginald Harkema
Music: Don Macdonald
Production designer: Johanna Mazur
Derek Ridley: Michael Riley
Will: Connor Widdows
Allison: Sabrina Grdevich
Running time -- 92 minutes
No MPAA rating
1 item from 2002
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