The theme of high school alienation is familiar, especially for an indie, but there is enough fresh energy and perspective in "Scrapbook" to lift it a notch above most low-budget, first-film features. Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne
shows versatile promise, but at this juncture of his young career, writing is the weakest element.
In this contemporary teen tale, Justin Urich
stars as Curt, a reclusive, gawky teen whose shyness and social awkwardness make him a veritable outcast. Curt's a nice, talented kid, but in the sharkish world of high school, he's vulnerable to the nastier, more aggressive kids. Overall, you feel for Curt, and writer-director Kuenne has nicely limned his predicament.
Unfortunately, the most dramatic scenes -- in which Curt is confronted with bad news or a difficult situation -- are woefully underwritten. Kuenne knows what's important but doesn't seem to have the writing ability to bring the drama to its highest pitch. Still, the overall story line is perceptive and solid and, despite the film's unrealized dramatic potential, generally holds interest.
The acting is mostly solid, with Urich delivering a likable performance as the troubled teen, while Chadwick Palmatier
is outstanding as a bully -- downright scary, as if he barged in from a Martin Scorsese
gangster set. Among the other young players, Keili Lefkovitz
stands out, not only for her sultry vocals but for her on-target portrayal of a somewhat callous pretty girl.
Technical contributions are only so-so, deadened by Dominique Faix's dim lighting and standard framings, while Kuenne's musical score adds some contemporary strains that hit the right emotional notes.
A Roni Eguia/Andrew Borakove production
A film by Kurt Kuenne
Producers: Roni Eguia, Andrew Borakove
, Kurt Kuenne
Screenwriter-director-editor: Kurt Kuenne
Executive producer: Richard Kuenne
Director of photography: Dominique Faix
Casting: James Scott, Vicki Goggin
Music: Kurt Kuenne
Curt Martin: Justin Urich
Andy Martin: Eric Balfour
Jake: Chadwick Palmatier
Lisa: Keili Lefkovitz
Tyler: Jed Rhein
Norm: Brandon Peterson
Hank: Aaron Nomaktchiensky
Running time -- 110 minutes
No MPAA rating