"An Existential Epic Neo-Noir," loosely adapted from Charles Brockden Brown's 1799 novel Edgar Huntly, or Memoirs of a Sleepwalker, Overwhelm the Sky tells the story of Edgar "Eddie" Huntly...
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William Cully Allen,
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Sidney J. Furie
Rebecca Dianna Smith
"An Existential Epic Neo-Noir," loosely adapted from Charles Brockden Brown's 1799 novel Edgar Huntly, or Memoirs of a Sleepwalker, Overwhelm the Sky tells the story of Edgar "Eddie" Huntly, an east coast radio personality who moves to San Francisco to marry Thea, the sister of his best friend Neil, a successful entrepreneur. Shortly before Eddie's arrival, Neil is found murdered in Golden Gate Park in what the police surmise was a simple mugging gone awry. As the sullen Eddie steps in as interim host of his old friend Dean's late-night talk-radio show, he obsessively makes regular visits to the forested spot where Neil's corpse was found. One such visit unleashes a chain of unpredictable events that sends Eddie snooping into the life of a sleepwalking drifter with a mysterious past.Written by
Originally exhibited in "Roadshow style" with Overture, Intermission, and Entr'acte, a very ambitious move for a low-budget film. Kremer is quoted as saying in a Filmmaker Magazine interview, "When Overwhelm the Sky was turning out to be long, and when I knew more and more that it had to stay long, I figured you only live once. And consider that a marquee doesn't get more epic than 'Alexander Hero starring in Overwhelm the Sky.' The idea is to take people back to a time when the cinema was more of an event. I'm not talking about 'event picture' in the context of a 21st-century tentpole flick. I'm taking about something sacred, about the way people used to experience cinema in that earlier era. There was more wonder and more ceremony about it, and a kind of loud poetry. I made a vow that if I ever made a long movie, I'd find a way to do [a roadshow release]." See more »
Dean Van Puddy:
You say hypocrisy... absolutely! You're darn tooting! Hypocrisy! It's the latest fad. It's what the cool kids are into now, right? Let's not kid ourselves. We've gone from liberte egalite fraternite, to vanite letharge hypocrise. But in the words of Lord Byron, "Let us have wine, women, mirth, and the laughter / Sermons and soda water the day after." And on that note, I'll leave you stewing into the night. So... so so so, off I go. When I'm coming back, nobody knows. Where I'm going, I kind of ...
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There are three cuts of this film. The first (177 minutes) is the "Roadshow-Style Edition" which opens with an Overture and includes an Intermission with Entr'acte music. The second (170 minutes) is the Standard Version which excludes the Overture and Intermission, and deletes two dramatic scenes from the body of the film, including an extra "cushion scene" between the intermission and part two. The third (124 minutes) is the Shortened Theatrical Cut, which streamlines the narrative into a simpler neo-noir. The latter version is not director Daniel Kremer's preferred cut and he prepared it for the sole purpose of making the film easier to program at American festivals. See more »
Crucial viewing for anyone interested in independent film
Overwhelm the Sky, a 3-hour microbudget mystery-drama shot in gorgeous black-and-white 'Scope, is the best of the three features I have seen by San Francisco-based filmmaker Daniel Kremer (though I liked the other two of his that I've seen, Raise Your Kids on Seltzer and Ezer Kenegdo, quite a bit). It might even be a masterpiece. The earlier films are loose and wild, but Overwhelm the Sky, even while considerably longer, feels the tightest and shortest. If anything, this is one instance when a long movie could have stood being even longer (in particular, I would have loved seeing more of the intriguing character played by Alanna Blair). The plot involves a radio talk-show host being sent down a series of Existential rabbit holes after the murder of a friend whose body is discovered in Golden Gate Park. The ambitious Kremer has long been working in undeserved obscurity at the relative fringes of the indie film scene -- he is currently working on his eighth feature-length film -- but I'm hoping that Overwhelm the Sky, which had its World Premiere at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival in 2019, is a game-changer for him.
The filmmaking is so confident that it's astonishing: The paranoid atmosphere and discordant orchestral score put me in the mind of early Jacques Rivette, but the formal control, perfectly calibrated camera movements, always surprising but ineffably right compositions, and precision of the cutting, put me in the mind of (believe it or not) Paul Thomas Anderson. There were parts where I had no clue what was going on on a narrative level, but I didn't really care because I was so caught up in how masterful the filmmaking was, and therefore felt I was in good enough storytelling hands that I trusted I could just wallow in the mystery of it all. It feels like the kind of film that will reveal more of its mysteries with subsequent viewings, but probably also isn't a puzzle with one ultimate "solution." It also features the best acting of any of the three films of Kremer's that I've seen. Whereas it seems he works a great deal with improvisation in his films, this one feels more scripted (yet I recently learned that his same improvisatory methods were used). Crucial viewing for anyone with an interest in independent film.
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