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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Watch great cinematography on a big screen

9/10
Author: chuck-526 from Ipswich MA
7 December 2009

"45365" has far better images and sound and editing than I've come to expect from documentaries. In fact cinematography is one of its strongest characteristics. All the images are very high resolution. The viewer is left wondering how they did that when the whole screen fills with a gorgeous nature shot. Color depth is significant too - a shot of subtle shifts in the color of the light as clouds pass overhead could easily look washed out and boring in another film, but it comes through here. Watch this film in a theater or projected or at least on the biggest baddest HD screen you can find; if you just watch it on a TV-in-a-box, you'll miss a big part of what it's all about.

I found the editing and cutting to be pretty quick and effective. I was never tempted to sink back into my popcorn and ignore the screen for a while. Then again, I'm nearly sixty and my motor probably runs slower than yours and I've sat through some really sllooowwww films. This film is not a borefest of interest only to cineasts - but many won't find it gripping either.

Lots of different ideals of what a "documentary" is are associated with lots of different styles of film-making. The particular kind of documentary motivating this film avoids any kind of analysis like the plague. It goes even further, trying to have no Point Of View at all. No POV means no story line nor plot in the traditional sense, and no resolution of any kind. It's unfair though to say the film shows only the "good parts" of small town life. Weird and fraying and busted relationships are shown. Legal and illegal drug use and alcoholism are shown. Crushing boredom leading to escapism is shown. People are shackled for their court appearance and face jail time. What's not shown --nor even commented on obliquely-- is either "why" people behave this way or whether a "significant" proportion of the population is affected.

The film helps you imagine life in a small town. What it doesn't do is give you it's opinion of whether that life would be "good" or "bad".

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Anytown, USA

9/10
Author: chanvat from North Carolina
5 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Saw this heartfelt documentary at the Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, NC. I say heartfelt because this documentary really epitomized Anytown, USA, through the lens of Sidney, Ohio (population ~20,000) your average small town with all its bows and blemishes. We have the local cons and screw ups, the competing law enforcement, and local high school football team. You get the sense that just like any small town, everyone knows everybody else, and the concept of nightlife or "fun" things to do is all but nonexistent.

I have a feeling that the filmmakers used the fact that they were from this town to their advantage, achieving a sense of realism and honesty that would not have been there if they were your average Hollywood documentarian, instead of hungry guerrilla filmmakers.

The Q&A after the film was one of the most informative and emotional Q&A's I have ever attended for a film. The directors went through all the technical aspects and maladies that occurred, from having to film out the side of moving cars and attracting the local police, to the hard decisions that had to be made during the grueling editing process. To give you an idea of how hard this film was to edit, they were working with 500 hours of footage that they had to pare down to a 90 minute film.

By the way, this won Honorable Mention at Full Frame under the New Filmmakers category, so that is two awards for the last two festivals this film has been in. That alone speaks wonders as to the quality of this film. Someone please distribute this!

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great Job!

9/10
Author: smellthebreeze
20 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw the initial showing of this doc at SXSW in Austin, TX and am glad that I did. It was a sweet, touching documentary of small town life in Sidney, Ohio. The movie was well shot, well put together and really captured the spirit of the residents in the town. Being the fact that I myself am a small town girl I really enjoyed the essence that this film produced, from a confused man who called out the police because his cable stopped working to the very serious efforts of the high school football team to "go all the way" (spoiler: in the Q&A with the film makers after the showing we learn that alas, the football team didn't make it and the teenager with the jerk boyfriend did indeed break up with him).

This film isn't supposed to produce any sort of judgment. The beauty of the movie is in the sweet, subtle truth of small town life which is a thing to treasure for its own benevolent journeys.

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16 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

A Decent Norman Rockwellish Version of Small Town America

6/10
Author: JustCuriosity from Austin, TX, United States
14 March 2009

I saw this reasonably well-filmed documentary at SXSW in Austin, TX. The young film makers have tried really hard to make a slice of life film about their small home town in Ohio. While the film is pretty, charming, and some of filming is quite good, it lacks the depth and critical edge necessary for solid documentary film making. I think that in filming their own home town, they were unable to really be objective.

The film takes an overly romanticized view of small town life focusing on the county fair, the barber shop, trick-or-treaters at Halloween, fishing trips, the local radio station and especially on the high school football team. There is no real sense of the problems and difficulties faced by small town America. There is no real story and they jump around without a single character or story to give the film a clear focus. Small town America faces serious economic and social problems, but you wouldn't know that from this Norman Rockwell Americana view. Also, at 90 minutes the film is a bit too long and at times just a bit too slow. The film has heart, but needs to dig deeper to deliver a story that hasn't been told many times before.

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A slice of small town life

7/10
Author: duncplus
13 August 2013

The first thing you should know about this film is that there's no plot or narrative. Not much happens. There's no excitement, no action, no resolution, and unusually for a documentary, no point of view being pushed.

This is a short movie about life in a small town in America. We see people going about their daily business, talking about everyday things, and that's about it.

This is very different to most films, which are driven by an evolving storyline and often a liberal helping of action or drama of one sort or another. There's no contrived conflict here, no dramatic music or camera work.

This film is a collage of bits and pieces of people just existing. It creates a sense of place in quite an organic feeling way. We get a picture of a town that still retains a real feeling of community, where life hasn't yet given way to the rush of the big city.

Capturing that slice of small town life and presenting it to the viewer is what this film is really all about. It's a different kind of viewing experience from your average documentary, and a pleasant change from the norm.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Forgettable

4/10
Author: trickangle from United States
19 December 2010

Have to agree with the reviewer who said this is largely a waste of time. I understand that a lot of the film's structure is intended to be artistic, but unlike most Independent Lens productions I've seen, this one seems to shout, "Look how artistic we can be," without the underlying thematic content to back it up. I didn't find this to be a worthwhile viewing, although the filmography, as always with Independent Lens, is conducted beautifully. Still, images with no continuity make for an unfulfilling experience.

As with the other reviewer, I also would have liked to see more tangible experiences in these people's lives to allow me to connect with them on some level beyond the mere pictorial. This film feels like a collage of images with no deeper thread to provide meaning and relevance.

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3 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

what a waste of time

1/10
Author: imdb-17171 from United States
7 November 2009

What was the point? I saw this at the Savannah Film Festival, and people walked out. I stayed, thinking there would be a point. There wasn't. There was no story about a bunch of people I didn't care about.

They show the football coach giving the pep talk about the homecoming game, but we never learn if they won the game.

We see the judge conducting his reelection campaign, and hear some of the returns, but did he win? We'll never know.

There was no narration, no commentary, no continuity. And what was with the individual digits of the zip code popping up during the movie?

What a waste of time! This was the worst movie I saw at the festival this year, possibly the worst of all time.

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