Occasionally as a critic I get asked to take a look at some indie films and it’s always a fun experience to look at what emerging filmmakers have to offer. I have 2 quick ones to talk about today
In Uncomformity writer and director Jonathan DiMaio uses his characters and the the harshness of the Mojave Desert to contemplate on themes of loneliness and how we as human beings fit into the grand scheme of nature’s plan. Alex Oliver plays a research student who after being betrayed by her colleague (played by Broadway’s Drew Gehling) goes to the desert to research the rock formations there for her geology doctorate.
It’s a little unclear what exactly she is studying (something about the uncomformity of the rocks, hence the name) but it doesn’t really matter. It’s more about Alex and her struggles to connect with anything but rocks. Along the way she meets a young man named Nick (Jack Mulhern) who is equally lonely and estranged from his old-fashioned father.
Given the small budget Uncomformity boasts strong acting and beautiful cinematography that helps the viewer feel like they know Alex and what she is going through. It’s a simple, slice of life kind of story and I’m sure some will want more plot but I enjoyed following these characters as they discover who they are what they want out of life.
If you enjoy character studies and don’t mind a bit of a slow burn Unconformity is available on tubi and Amazon prime and I think it is worth your time.
6 out of 10
Also set in the desert, Day9 is a short that reminded me a lot of the Disney film Holes (this is for adults but similar plot and aesthetic.) Holes is one of my favorite live action Disney films, so this is not on that level but like I said it has a similar plot and aesthetics.
Like in Holes, in Day9 a rich man is forcing men and women to dig holes in the desert. It appears to be a test of wills because he does not treat the workers well and gives them little to eat and drink. How long will the workers put up with this behavior? Well, you will have to watch the movie to find out.
At under 20 minutes this short creates atmosphere well and helps us feel empathy for the workers. Most anyone put under their circumstances would behave the way they do. Director Dastan Khalili captures the heat and pressure of this situation very well and it makes for a compelling little short.
6 out of 10
What are some of your favorite indies you’ve seen lately? Would love to hear about them.
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