Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
Not wholly successful but interesting and thought-provoking enough to justify giving it a try
Eddy is a Vietnam veteran who drifts aimlessly across America, living in his car or wherever he can find. Along with him on his journey is Tam, his 16 year old Vietnamese 'daughter' who he has picked up hitchhiking not knowing her real father. At night they drive around, looking into the homes of other happy families, daring each other to sneak into the house unnoticed and steal minor objects. However when Eddy gets arrested, Tam has a chance to leave this life and enter a perfect family willing to take her in.
With the early use of stock footage from Vietnam and the obvious issues over the war (and what Tam represents to them) it is apparent that this film is aiming for a significance that goes beyond the story of Tam, but it doesn't totally manage to bring that out. At a guess I would have said that the two father figures represent two approaches of men during war, one man feels empathy and puts others on the same level as him while the other feels anger and tries to 'save' them by enforcing his beliefs on them. This is a stretch and I don't think the film is well enough done to really make such an issue totally clear. This is not to say that it isn't interesting because it still is and it was a nice find in a series of short films that usually don't have a great deal of imagination or life to them, at least this kept me thinking the whole way through.
The direction is good without being overly flashy it has some good shots and generally uses the suburbs well. It is good to see Saddler in a short film as too few well-known actors will support short films once they are getting feature work. He has a simple character but he fits it well. Better is Blake who plays her character well sweet and innocent is a difficult thing to carry off without it being sickly. Her character is not as good as it should have been (feels more like a plot device than a full person). The rest of the cast are good with basic characters that feel like they are meant to represent something rather than be people, and it is nice to see Whipple make a brief appearance.
Overall this is not a totally successful film because it is never 100% clear what it is getting at, however it is interesting regardless of this and will keep you thinking about it even after it has finished and for my money that's enough to justify giving it a go.
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