Feeling lost and disconnected, with no family of his own, veteran Sherman Oliver sets out to the countryside in search of the soldier who saved him back in the war. That man, Franklin Page,...
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Feeling lost and disconnected, with no family of his own, veteran Sherman Oliver sets out to the countryside in search of the soldier who saved him back in the war. That man, Franklin Page, has long since moved on - to a wife, two children, and a reliable job in a reliably safe and quiet rural town. Upon arriving, Sherman seems at first a harmless if awkward shell of a man. But as he inserts himself further into the Pages' life, he reveals himself to be an angry, unstable individual prone to great jealousy and deep resentment. The stability Franklin worked so hard to establish is soon threatened, and the violence he believed he'd left behind in the war begins to re-emerge and cloud over both the household and the town itself. Written by
Intense drama but it failed to get me involved in the main characters, in spite of superb acting and casting
I saw this film at Noordelijk Filmfestival 2011 (in Leeuwarden, province of Friesland NL). Let me start with admitting that this subject is alien to me. I've never been in the army, and don't know anyone who fought in a war. I can only imagine what they go through, and what scars it leaves behind (inside or outside). Is that the reason that I could not get involved in the main character?? Neither in the new arrival who stirs up a lot of things, nor in his former mate who bears with him to a considerable length out of pity and loyalty, nor in the wife of the latter who allows such an intruder she has no link whatsoever with.
Story develops slowly but steadily, without dull moments as far as I remember. Scenes are kept relative concise, just long enough to make clear what is going on. I have only positive comments on the quality of the script, the casting and the acting. The story is intense, keeping us wondering throughout how this would end, most probably either bad or ugly, because chances were slim that something good comes out of this.
Events take a surprising twist near the end. Even after Oliver has made himself impossible and is asked to leave, he tries to do a good deed towards the people who just threw him out. Did he do it to pay back past friendship or their hospitality?? Or did he do it to correct an injustice that overcame his hosts earlier?? I think this could have been exploited much better, if only to show how all main characters move on with their lives.
We see Oliver's fate with our own eyes near the end of the film, but this leaves us (me anyway) unsatisfied. What the impact of all this was on the couple and their kids, leaves us guessing. This is a second open end that could have been exploited better.
All in all, the film left us half way in getting involved. The scenes were evenly dosed, and the acting was commendable. I scored a middle-of-the-road 3 (out of 5) for the audience award when leaving the theater. In hindsight I think a 4 would have been more appropriate, when I had not been so reluctant to get feelings of pity towards Oliver, but his "explosive" behavior kept me.
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