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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Well Written, Well Crafted First Film

Author: dslacker (dslacker@tularosa.net) from New Mexico
10 November 2004

A very well written, shot, directed, and acted first film that received an Honorable Mention Jury Prize at CineVegas in 2004. Looking at this film you'd swear that some Hollywood studio had spent 10's of millions of dollars on sets, lighting, camera work and all the things that we expect from 'big time' movies. What gives it away that it is a truly independent film is the quality of the writing.

Its a moody and occasionally obscure story of a 30-something NYC lawyer who imagines himself making amends for old transgressions - his own and those of his law firm. There are many story elements and subplots, most of which coalesce in unlikely ways. We're not always sure of what's real and what's not but all is revealed - not in some clichéd surprise twist, but thru details and clues that gradually come together to form a complete picture.

This is an amazing first film that, unfortunately, may fit into that category of movies too good to get distribution.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

An Evocative, Moody Film

8/10
Author: mikewelch7 from San Francisco, USA
29 January 2005

I saw Mitchelville at the Sundance festival this week, and it has remained with me ever since. While one would need to be in the proper mood to enjoy this quirky film, it is quite good in its own right.

The film focuses on a corporate lawyer, going through a battery of examinations with his firm's shrink prior to being made partner. As the lawyer describes his life to the psychiatrist, a complex past emerges.

I will not attempt to describe the maze of complexities that are presented, as this would give away too much of the film. Suffice it to say that his past leads him to unravel an old mystery, brought to the present through his dealing in an M&A activity at his firm.

This film is filled with beautiful, mysterious imagery and sound, and leaves the viewer questing what was fact, and what was imagination at the conclusion.

I recommend it to anyone seeking a dreamy diversion.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"Mitchellville" is about an up and coming 30 something corporate lawyer who is faced with deciding what gives him meaning and try's to see where his place is in life.

10/10
Author: alana_90025 from United States
7 January 2007

I was very fortunate to watch "Mitchellville" last night on the Sundance film channel.

Let me just say that I thought this film was engaging and thought provoking. At first glance one would think the dialog and the acting to be simple and unremarkable but upon further examination we see the protagonist in a complex environment who is trying to make sense of his surroundings weather it be at work or in his relationship with his wife.

In many ways there are elements of this film that one can identify with. As much as we like to put everything in a black or white box, the reality is that life will not allow us to do so and because of this we have to confront our own "right's and wrong's" and see if we are capable of living with those decision's. John D. Harkrider did a brilliant job of portraying this message. With this in mind, one will see that "Mitchellville" is an incredibly complex story that deserver's full attention.

I do hope Mr. Harkrider's continues to pursue writing/filming.

"Mitchellville" is definitely a must see film!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Martin Luther King book

7/10
Author: jotix100 from New York
12 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gabriel is a tormented corporate lawyer. His life has been marked by two influential women, his mother and Tessa, his wife. His mother was a violinist of great talent who died when Gabriel was young. His life on his own takes a detour when he is involved in an incident that lands him in juvenile jail.

Gabriel, who wants to learn to play the flute, seeks Ken Malik, a black man that appears to be suffering from disease and loneliness. Gabriel arrives as Ken is attempting to commit suicide. The two embark into a journey that reveals how much in common both have. The two become great friends.

At the same time, Gabriel, who has a horrible boss at the firm, is asked to stay until late to finish a contract when he had planned to celebrate his anniversary. Michael, the boss, seeks the lovely Tessa. Michael also is instrumental for sending Gabriel away to look at different data at the South Carolina's deposit.

Gabriel, who has been talking to an analyst throughout the film, reveals to him all what has been happening in his life and reveals things he had well hidden within him.

"Mitchellville", an interesting film directed by its star, John Harkrider, is a beautiful film to watch thanks to the production design by Mylene Santos, who gives the film a wonderful depth as she sets the story in minimal sets that contribute to enhance the mood Mr. Harkrider was trying to accomplish, no doubt. The cinematography is by Barron Clirborne and Soopun Sohn, who did wonders with the camera work displayed in the film. The jazzy music background is by Matt Mariano.

Mr. Hackrider got excellent acting from his ensemble team. Herb Lovelle gives a wonderful performance as Malik. Michael Voyer, Anna Lodej, and the rest of the cast worked well under the direction of John Hackrider, who plays Gabriel.

Although this is a small film, it surprises because it has a look that other bigger budget films would love to have.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

ethereal study of self and values - 'the firm' as art

8/10
Author: vizion-3 from United States
6 January 2007

no it's not a neatly packaged beat the crooks and get the girl movie, but that's not why we watch small film is it? those reviewers really need to stick to john travolta or csi in their favorite city.

you want vivid characters? nothing beats 'do the right thing'. vanity? sounds more like a confession of the viewer than a review of this film.

what it is - an introspective and retrospective study of a very young and initially gullible man who almost loses his marriage and questions his values and view of self through therapy. a more common than not crossroads for many young would-be instant millionaire attorneys or investment bankers in new york. is personal wealth worth the human cost? it strongly projects a minimalist and artsy approach, quite unusual for this type of story - so what? i don't see anything wrong with that.

no car chases, no firearms, no goons, fine with me. but several fantastic shots, creative camera angles and follows, and mostly excellent editing. realistic and thoughtful script, strong and tight performances from the co-stars, not overdone.

a bit preachy and predictable in a few places, so only 8 of 10 because these are qualities i dislike.

i will see and enjoy this one again.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

outstanding with surreal elements

10/10
Author: vgbmtn-1 from United States
11 May 2006

A truly outstanding film in conception, writing, casting and acting, staging, lighting and filming. The timing and dialog are fascinating. The approach intriguing and quite original. If it is true that there is nothing new under the sun, at least here the sun shines at a unique angle. The surreal elements appeal greatly. One of the best movies I have seen of this nature. The mingling of personal journey and a broader history adds dimension. Dreams and reality are juxtaposed and intertwined in a stream of consciousness manner that can be allowed to simply flow, and the themes will come together in a poetic manner, lovely, touching and human. The music is well integrated and vital.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Mitchellville - Dreamy Reality

10/10
Author: Sean Hoskin (seanhoskin@gmail.com) from United States
12 February 2007

This excellent opus interweaves multiple layers of reality and dreams from onset to ending, bracing against the bulwark of corporate culture, childhood memory and longing, artistic expression in photography and music and the challenges of social justice. Its beauty lies not in the answers provided but in the questions asked: What is fact? Of what is the fantastical composed? How do we separate the two and yet find them inextricably raveled like skeins of brightly-colored threads? From the mercurial and curious to the barbarous, rancorous and inhumane, the tale takes shape, providing characters who wrestle with their foibles and joys; and one is never sure if, in this match of epic proportion, the reality perceived is singular or communal, the dream solitary or conjunctive. The poignancy of the life we desire and the juxtaposition of the one we actually lead is tested in fire, and the ore which emerges remains to be interpreted by each viewer.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

John Harkrider's Mitchellville: compelling, complex, ethereal... works on many levels

10/10
Author: jan-wheeler from United States
6 January 2007

I'll probably see Mitchellville as many times as I've seen Casablanca. ...and for many of the same reasons. There's a lot to this movie. It's honest as the day is long* and as deep as a man's soul. But since it plays on many levels, you can enjoy it without probing the depths too.

Mitchellville is a town, or is it? He's talking to a company shrink, or...? About a dream, or...? To me the exciting thing about this film besides it's striking beauty and mystery, is the ethereal way it deals with concepts of perception of reality and at the same time quietly but boldly takes on some of life's most provocative issues.

This is a multi-themed well nuanced film, with plenty of symbolism and eerie relationships with time and space. Yet all aspects of it combine to create a sensitive deep statement on love, interwoven with taking on life-purpose issues, the path and fruits of greed (both personal and corporate), power, loss, serious compromise, racism, and the challenges of living in our culture as an artist/ musician (or even just an honest genuine person) with life and death aspects on all levels. What in life is worth dying for.... ?

Often visually stunning... usage of stark sets, lighting, color (and lack there of). Great characterization. These people are so real to me. Beautiful evocative music. All combine to create a straightforward spirituality about the workings of the world, despite it's ills. With all its complexities, I still felt a comforting sense of "just the facts, m'am..." with the message: "you can't stop when you make a mistake, you have to keep going". And that I see illustrated in both the personal and corporate historical sense, as a base line for life and it's challenges. Definitely thought provoking.

* keeping in mind that days dependably lengthen and then shorten throughout the year.

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Surreal Mood piece

9/10
Author: milesphenn from Ann Arbor, MI
22 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've never been moved to write a review before but I have to for this film as it's one of my favorites that is very under appreciated. For me this movie is similar to something that would come from David Lynch. While not quite as crazy, it works by playing with the emotions of the audience without them really knowing why it is they feel the way they feel. Harkrider is very good playing a role that one senses is at least a little autobiographical. While he has a degree in theater here he is playing a corporate lawyer in the same occupation as himself. The story is also based off of something similar that happened to Harkrider involving a pro bono case and his own firm. So basically it's quite authentic.

But what pulls the movie away isn't the story, which is enough to keep the film moving. The cinematography is absolutely fantastic with some great locations. It seems there is constantly music in the background and it is all exceptional well used, lending a calm mood to the entire piece. Herb Lovelle is absolutely terrific as Ken. He steals every scene he's in. Anna Lodej is very beautiful and works for what she is cast in.

Bottom line this is fantastic and if you ever get a chance to see it you absolutely should. And if you do see it and love it let Sundance know so this can finally be released on DVD.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Surreal? Stupid.

1/10
Author: alomejorestara (alomejorestara@aol.com) from United States
14 September 2006

The person who wrote the glowing review of this misguided project must be related to the writer/director/star--or is, in fact, the same person as it defies rational thinking that this movie would be appealing to anyone not connected to a very tightly woven inner circle. How about this? You want to make a movie--tell a story; entertain; draw me in with vivid characters. Sure, you can do it artfully without bowing to the commercial elements designed for mass appeal. However, do not address elements of artistic expression in a vacuum in which the audience is in a continual struggle to grasp at skimpy narrative threads. If I'm to be moved by a dreamy psychological thread then make the concrete fabric easier to buy.

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