The Undeserved (2004) Poster

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Just saw this at its world premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival
elmo_crumley10 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I just saw "The Undeserved" at the Mill Valley Film Festival, its first screening, its world premiere. As I understand it, they were still wrapping up finishing editing touches only two days before it premiered. I gave it 6 out of 10 for a couple of reasons. First for the performance of Paul Sado, who channels Sean Penn circa 1984 -- very refreshing. The movie is set in a small town in Vermont and revolves around the lives of a small group of high-schoolers there. It was mostly improvised -- the actors repeatedly stated that the instruction was that the town itself was the script -- and it was shot sequentially, so the cast did not know the plot. Some stated that watching it with us at the premiere was the first time they actually learned the truth of what is arguably the most central point of the plot. This unique approach to a film at once made it interesting and uninteresting. Its interesting to see how a film made in that manner came out. Its uninteresting because each actor seemed too focused on his or her own character, own role, own performance, and none were able to actually interACT in a compelling manner, perhaps because they never knew exactly which emotional tone they were after in any given scene, perhaps for other reasons. This was something different than a lack of chemistry, which can occur with or without a script. The cast was, in fact, uniformly solid, but somehow unable to come together. The film, I believe, would have been better with a script and a plan, and a key death at a certain obvious time. It is, however, worth watching for the outstanding performances of the young(ish) and largely unknown cast, particularly Sado.
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Just saw it about an hour ago..
friendsoflime6 April 2006
I just finished with this movie about an hour ago at the Ashland Independent Film Festival. I liked it very much. It wasn't an A+, top-notch film, but it was done well. The characters are all portrayed well and they all don't seem to lose that, normal, average-joe type of persona. They do, act and say things that wouldn't be found in your normal candid film, but actual dialogue that sounds very believably is heard instead. The realism of the dialogue reminded me of the chatter that is abundant in Good Night and Good Luck. The direction was done well and there was nothing cheesy about the overall production. Though it borders on being melodramatic at times I felt it never actually fell into that category. For such a small production I thought it was done extremely well and would recommend it.

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An opening to remember..
digitalgirlsf10 November 2005
As for me and my review: I can't wait to get my autographed copy on DVD!! The cast is amazing, the music too... I can't wait to watch it again!

I love The Undeserved! And loved screening it (twice) (Sept @ the Mill Valley Film Festival) The event was an adventure indeed and such a great team of people to be around!

Some might refer to the Undeserved as a sad or rather a raw look in to human and social dysfunction. However , although it feels at times somewhat dark or edgy I believe the filmmakers and cast embraced just that!! Thus it becomes more beautiful ...the beauty then underlines both the weakness and the strengths of the characters. It ties in to survival (what I think of most while watching it). The very strong female characters are rare these days and most appreciated. If this film is seen by the right people... there are awards awaiting this awesome indie flick!

From the website: The Undeserved was shot in an actual school in Bellows Falls, Vermont. The script was developed by Director Brad Coley and the actors through an unusually long and deep immersion in the community. The story and style of the film reflect the Shakespearean notion of holding a mirror up to life.

" During production, events occurred that seemed to shape and foretell our story- a student shooting and several tragic accidental deaths shadowed us from beginning to end. Thankfully, many teachers, students and parents stuck with us through a long and complicated creative process. working on the film or just hanging out with us and sharing their lives, opinions and daily struggles, the members of the school and community greatly informed our sense of what we were doing. The film has a resonance and texture that could be called organic in that it seems to grow from a real living place. We took a long time cultivating the story and these characters, and tried, often under great pressure, to remain as true to ourselves as we were to them. -Director Brad Coley
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