A lonely, gritty west Texas rancher has disengaged from life after loss but an old compadre masterminds a crazy bet on a chicken named Blanche to help Tommy realize there are second chances...
See full summary »
A lonely, gritty west Texas rancher has disengaged from life after loss but an old compadre masterminds a crazy bet on a chicken named Blanche to help Tommy realize there are second chances at life and love. This tale was inspired by a true bet.Written by
A precious gem deserving a lot of praise and a bit of polish...
What a perfect premise and beautiful setting for a film! And, yes, all the actors in Blanche are first timers; the movie was apparently shot on a tight timeline; and the budget was razor thin... given all these caveats, Blanche's creators and cast have something they all can, and should, be quite proud of at the end of the day. Now, in respect to all those involved (and the independently curious), I come here to provide a review from the perspective of someone removed from the intrepid West Texas community which inspired, conceived of, and forged this unique, fun tale.
I won't harp too much on the acting other than to say the producer perhaps should've brought in a coaching consultant capable of showing the film's players how to more aptly let go of their in-front-of-camera affects to better embrace their natural spirits. Raw and real West Texans are already "characters" (like anyone else, I suppose), and nearly all of Blanche's actors would shine in a documentary setting where they simply were being themselves. Instead, much of the cast dons a rigidity that probably could've been coached away in relatively short order.
I will say that Clifford Hardwick is able to cut through at times to pull off that natural-feel acting that many of the others can lack. Of the key players, he's often the most effective and deserves recognition here. A few of the ancillary characters can do the same, but their screen time is comparatively brief.
Okay, now to the most problematic-yet most fixable-aspect of Blanche: the editing. I more than once felt a creeping headache start to build during the film's dialogue sequences as the camera cut from face to face while each character delivered lines back and forth during conversation. Let the camera linger more, either on a single actor, even if not speaking, or at a wider angle to include both characters as they exchange lines. These quick cuts likely wouldn't be as sickening when viewed on smaller screens, but in a large-format theater setting, this flaw is magnified to distracting and sometimes painful proportions.
Another place to edit would be the scenes coupled to full-length songs. Just because there's an original score to showcase, that does not mean the film should become a de facto music video at various points merely for purposes of accommodating an entire song from start to finish. Maybe these moments would be less noticeable if this music video quality were less informed by 90's country music aesthetics in which fade split screens, wash-out transitions, and conspicuously forced lament dominate.
In a similar vein, the chicken training montage suffers a comparable fate, where inexplicable repetitions of the same exact shots are interspersed with each other to again perhaps accommodate another full-length song. Not sure how many times we saw that shot of Tommy holding Blanche the chicken up in the air, along with that other where he's stretching her wings, but once to a couple of times would've been more than enough.
Luckily, most of my admittedly nitpicking gripes could be remedied with ease by spending some more time in front of computer editing software. I'd love to see them re-cut Blanche in light of these minor issues and then I would happily plop down for another viewing. This film is worth an extra bit of TLC!
Still, I wholeheartedly commend Blanche for all it accomplishes. As the creator has indicated, everyone said it could not be done, that they were crazy for even attempting a feature film, etc. Well, they certainly proved those naysayers wrong, and in the process, showcased a beautiful section of the country. The stunning aerial shots alone make for a visually captivating aesthetic throughout. West Texas is gorgeous; its people wonderfully warm, and Blanche is a testament to these facts most of all. Well done, folks... again, be proud of your hard work!
Finally, in homage to one of my favorite scenes in Blanche (no spoilers), I have to say, "Move over Marfa!" With the premiere of this film, a more genuine and locally wrought brand of art has arrived in West Texas. So, to that end, I really hope Blanche is just the beginning of an Alpine-grown film tradition that's led more by those who actually have the region's DNA intertwined with their own, rather than the one commanded by a bunch of outsiders in black skinny jeans who've become synonymous with much of the area's creative scene. The time has come... the world is ready... and Blanche is the proof!
8 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this