BRINGING RAIN is the story of boarding school students that have suffered a scarring accident. Stuck together for the last month of school, they are faced with either dealing with the ... See full summary »
BRINGING RAIN is the story of boarding school students that have suffered a scarring accident. Stuck together for the last month of school, they are faced with either dealing with the reality of the damage done, or drifting off into isolated fantasies and denials. Written by
A mixed bag of good acting, a cool premise and Indie attitude
`Bringing Rain' had its world premiere at the New York City Tribeca Film Festival this past Saturday, May 10th. Yours truly was in attendance to that screening. `Bringing Rain' is, in MY personal opinion, a mixed bag of a very good idea and some really good performances dragged down by a heavy dose of independent filmmaking blues. Let me explain. The movie deals with how an off-camera car accident involving baseball star Clay Askins (Adrian Grenier) and his swimmer girlfriend Neisha Sanders (Niesha Buttler) indirectly correlates with (and affects) the lives of a small group of students living at a New Jersey boarding school. Clay's guilt for what the accident did to Neisha (he was either distracted or intoxicated, I'm not sure) makes him skip class and desert his school's baseball team (the Sharks).
The accident also restricts the other students at the boarding school from leaving on weekends, which explains why most of them tend to sit in their cars with the engines off puffing away at what appears to be an endless supply of cigarettes. There are more students in this school than the dozen or so `Bringing Rain' focuses on, but the movie feels like those anime TV shows in which the streets of Tokyo are empty except for the small group of characters in which the story focuses on. The movie is more of a slice-of-life metaphor than an actual story (the film ends on a down note that leaves its characters' issues purposefully unresolved and hanging loose!), with writer/director Noah Buschell going a little overboard with the awkward silences and pretentious film-within-a-film dialogue. And, as in Network TV shows like `Alias' and `Felicity,' an alternative song makes sure the lyrics match the emotions the characters are supposed to be feeling on the screen (a pet peeve of mine!). You know this is an Indie flick when the Clay Askins character, after being granted a clandestine exit from school by Headmaster Gula (Olek Krupa, sensational as the only adult authority figure in the entire movie besides a barely-seen security guard), chooses to spend his night of freedom at a Clearview Cinemas movie theater. Everyone in the movie talks with such monotone tones and with so many awkward pauses that, had the movie picked up the pace a little bit, it would have probably ended running 65-70 min. instead of its final 82 min. running time.
Since `Bringing Rain' takes its sweet time to get to where it's going (which is apparently nowhere) the performances by the young actors are what keep it interesting. Adrian Grenier is sensational as the silent and moody Clay Askins, a leader whose emotional (and physical) scars are just barely under the surface of the coy attitude and blue cap he wears throughout most of the film. This might be a weird analogy, but think of what the teenager X-Men characters from Bryan Singer's two movies might be like if their leader suddenly lost the nerve to fight and withdrew into his own little world of self-doubt. Every character in `Bringing Rain' at one point interacts with Clay, and its clear that if the accident hadn't happened this guy would be the one that could hold the entire gang together. Seen from that perspective (the study of what friends are like when the glue that held them together collapses), `Bringing Rain' is actually a pretty cool concept anchored by a solid lead in Grenier's strong (if a bit understated) performance.
Niesha Sanders (moody and introspective), Paz de la Huerta (sensational as the hysterical druggie-with-illusions-of-grandeur Dakota Cunningham), the aforementioned Olek Krupa (Headmaster Gula) and Ben Buschel (a baseball pitcher whose ego for sexual conquests overcomes his otherwise decent personality) also turn in strong performances. I wasn't crazy about the other performances in `Bringing Rain.' The Marcus Swords character played by Noah Fleiss (who plays Ori Swords' brother), in particular, was painfully oblique and underplayed. At least writer/director Noah Buschel paces the proceeding so that everyone in the cast gets at least one or two memorable little scenes. Which leads me to what you've all been probably wondering about since starting to read this.
Larisa Oleynik's character, Ori Swords, is the only student in `Bringing Rain's' boarding school that seems to be at ease with who she is and appears to be enjoying life. Everyone else (except maybe for Headmaster Gula) seems to smoke like a chimney and/or be uncomfortable just existing inside his/her own skin. Ori, however, is just a disarmingly charming young person that smiles, chews gum (no smoking!) and goes about her school day as if it's a joy instead of a chore. It's this innocence the Ori Sword possesses, however, that leads to her eventual maturity under fire when the trust she puts on other people (her relatives, a potential lover, etc.) backfires.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?