9.0/10
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Mirk Riders (2010)

| Short, Drama, Music
The Mirk Riders is a movie about what you can't escape. Seen through the eyes and memory of band leader, Eve, as she leads her band through the desert after their last show of their tour. ... See full summary »

Director:

David Becker

Writer:

David Becker
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Cast

Credited cast:
Jamie Bernadette ... Chloe
Daniel Buran ... Dan the drug dealer
Rob Delevere Rob Delevere ... Rob
Alisha Seaton ... Eve
Victoria Taylor Victoria Taylor ... Jane
Jim Van Bebber Jim Van Bebber ... Venue Owner
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Storyline

The Mirk Riders is a movie about what you can't escape. Seen through the eyes and memory of band leader, Eve, as she leads her band through the desert after their last show of their tour. But a brief car problem sends the band into an unwinding downward spiral. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Short | Drama | Music

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
A bit murky...
29 September 2012 | by Matt J. PophamSee all my reviews

For those of you who don't know what mirk is or why anyone would want to ride it, I looked it up and it turns out that "mirk" is really nothing more than an archaic spelling of "murk." Which makes "Mirk Riders" a fitting appellation, not only for the fictional all-girl thrash metal band at the center of David Becker's visually impressive short, but also, unfortunately, for his film's audience. Ambitious and erratic, "Mirk Riders" machine-guns a wild spray of stylish images, gritty vignettes and embryonic ideas in its 15 minute running time. Some are striking, some are intriguing, a few are tired and derivative, but these energetic fragments never really harmonize or coalesce into a larger whole.

From the stale (and, thankfully, quickly abandoned) spiral around bass-player Jane's (Victoria Taylor) descent into addiction, to the glimpses of the strained relationship between frontwoman Eve (Alisha Seaton) and her troubled, nihilistic boyfriend, Rob (Rob Delevere), who leads a band of his own, to Eve's fevered drive into the desert as she attempts to escape her demons, every potential story is presented in rapid-fire half-measures, keeping appropriate pace with the musical genre at the film's core, but sacrificing much in the way of complexity, character development and comprehensibility along the way. The pace slows only for sad sex, suicide and Eve's sojourn, but we never get enough of an emotional foothold in these scenes to feel truly involved. We know what we're supposed to feel because Becker's visual style is precise and powerful, but our appreciation never rises above the purely aesthetic.

The performances, in general, are fine, but Becker's devotion to technique leaves little for his cast to work with and less for us to see. Taylor is believable in her introductory disintegration, but the scenes are so quick-cut, we can barely remember what she looks like at the film's end. Delevere looks and acts the part of Rob effectively (perhaps it's more than a coincidence that he shares his character's name…?), but his performance is too steely to provide any real insight into his character's spiritual turmoil. Seaton skillfully conveys both the malaise and the rage that propel Eve and effectively commands the stage during the scattershot clips of her band performing live. Unfortunately, we are never allowed to do more than scratch the surface of these characters. Becker presents them as complex and complicated without probing the how or the why.

In the end, "Mirk Riders" adds up to little more than a stylish student film made by a director with a great deal of talent and potential. Becker immerses us in the tumult of a life in music and galvanizes every moment with the dark energy of the speed metal scene. Comparisons to early Scorsese and early Stone are inevitable (Becker channels them so well, in fact, that at his weakest, he can seem more slavish than inspired), but although his visual flare may be strongly reminiscent of the former's immediacy and grit and the latter's ability to create charged atmospheres and evocative ambiance, he fails to render the intense human drama that allows their work to transcend mere technical expertise and become high art. He teases us with shards of character and story, but never takes us on a full journey. There's too much here for a music video and not enough for anything else.


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