Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
Jon Lindstrom is an actor you might have seen over the years. He's been on several soap operas and has appeared on several shows. However, he and the rest of the cast have relatively small resumes in the entertainment business. And, that is what makes How We Got Away With It such an unusual film. Although Lindstrom is far from a recognizable face for most viewers, here he not only directed his first full-length film with this movie but he acted in it as well. Equally surprising is that both leading men in the film, McCaleb Burnett and Jeff Barry wrote the script--along with Lindstrom! These are some multi-talented guys, that's for sure.
The film begins with Henry (Burnett) getting out of jail. Only later do you learn why he was there in the first placeand the entire film is that way. Things occur, you have no idea why, and then later you learn, bit by bit, what exactly occurred. It's like watching someone assembling a puzzle. At first you may have no idea what's happeningbut hold tight, as eventually the big picture will be revealed.
Back to Henry .he's out of jail and his sister doesn't come to pick him up. Where is Sarah? Well, soon he learns why he had this long walk as he soon finds her body hanging in the house. You assume this is Sarah but you aren't sure. And, Henry does not phone the police but hides the body in the basement!
Soon a bunch of old friends arrive for a reunion at Henry's house. Could Henry have hidden the body just so the reunion could come off without a hitch? Probably not .and the WHY he did this is something you'll just have to put on hold.
Later, Henry involves his friend Will (Barry) in his plot. You see them dragging Sarah's body from the basement and then you later see them burying a body in Lake Ontario .and you assume they are the same body. But are they? What's happened? Why is blood discovered on the shore the next day and what about Walter .where has he disappeared to? The film is just chock full of questions and answers are very slow in coming.
Despite the answers coming so slowly, this is a very good film. Much of it is because the acting is very believable and you really feel as if you are sitting there at the house watching the reunion you first-hand. These don't look like actors, but people real people. Additionally, the pace and style is very nice and clearly NOT like a typical Hollywood production. Slow, well-paced and actually quite pretty despite some ugly things that occur in the film. If you are wondering where all this takes place, it's Rochester, New York and the biggest thing that shocked me about this is that several of the characters went swimming and they didn't freeze to death!! Rochester and Lake Ontario are very cold even in the summer!
So is this worth your time? Of course. But if you want explosions, huge budgets, glitzy acting and all the trappings of the usual cinema fare, this film probably is not for you. If you want a thoughtful and well made indie, then you'd have a hard time doing much better than this one.
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