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I wanted to like it, but it's more middling that good or bad. Nice b&w feel.
Surrogate Valentine (2011)
An interesting if not commanding attempt to show a slice of life of a promising young musician at a crossroads in his life. There are echoes here are of the much better in other movies, including the really special "I Am Not a Hipster" released 2012.
Here in rather nice black and white we have quiet (rather introverted) guitarist and singer who is asked to help train a loud (rather extroverted) actor who needs to pretend to play guitar in a scene. A couple of love interests (girlfriends) come and go, and a weird, incomplete friendship forms between the two male leads. On paper it sounds pretty cool.
The problem (with the movie) is multi-fold. For one, this story only goes so far. It's simple to the point of needed either depth of expression or some layering and complexity (you know: a subplot). It has neither. Sometimes it's even a little cursory (or confusing) as the lead trots between cities for a brief this or that (a performance, a talk). There are asides that don't quite matter (like a part about a promoter who collects guns).
The lead actor (Goh Nakamura) is rather good, but he's so restrained you don't totally get on board with his situation. The actor who is his counterpoint (Chadd Stoops) is appropriately over the top, but not completely convincing. The rest of the cast is fine to middling, sometimes bordering on obviously amateur.
Yes, I know it's a low budget indie. If you want to lower your bar and go along with the style as "necessary" to the genre, you might get more out of it than I did. Or than is there. The nuances of the time, the bits of Seattle and San Francisco in the backdrop, are not examined or revealed or even enjoyed for simply being there. The idea of making it in that world of renting studio time and performing half baked music and performing on a shoestring is great stuff, but it's subdued here. The meat of it is supposed to be the interaction between these two opposite males, and it never quite connects and takes off.
In short, it's a okay movie with an okay premise and some okay talents. That adds up to a watchable, gentle movie with a few strong moments. Is that clear without being brutal?
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