Nov 17, 2023
Matt Bailey, Clarence Wethern, Katie Willer, Bethany Ford Binkley, Christine Weber, Juan Rivera Lebron
NEW TO UK FILM REVIEW
Critics Chris Olson and Brian Penn host UK Film Club - a new film podcast covering all film types. From blockbusters to old favourites and even indie & shorts.
The first season of a web series that involves a group of people in Minneapolis, their struggles, their complications and the ways they look at life.
Consisting of eight episodes and with a total duration of six hours, this series has a narrative that contains three intertwining storylines. A feature is in production and the story follows people who are involved. Alex (Bailey) is the director and he is married to Jodi (Binkley), who is pregnant with their son. Alex is going through a crisis as he has terminal cancer and desperately tries to keep things together for the reaminder of his life by completing the film, making videos of himself for his son to view after his passing and dealing with Jodi, who is in a big state of unhappiness. Chelsea (Weber) and Michael (Lebron) are the two leads of the movie and they begin a romantic relationship and as time goes by, it appears that they will have a future together. Paul (Wethern) is the scriptwriter and he meets and starts a relationship with Kayla (Willer), a waitress at a coffee shop.
The three storylines involve a different couple and romance is one of the series' themes. However, self-reflection and the meaning of life are arguably what is primarily explored, which is evident by the characters' situations and perspectives. People in the story engage in meaningful conversations or go on monologues regarding what life is. For instance, Paul communicates to Kayla his unconventional views regarding life, believing that there is no free will, but rather, things happen because of some other force and Michael sees life as an illusion. For self-reflection, all characters consider who they are and what they want, for instance Jodi is very unhappy with her life and Chelsea wants to look for better opportunities. Regrets, mortality, mental health, terminal illness, religion, support and film-making are among the other themes that are examined in this series that contains moving moments, confrontations, interesting dialogue, suspense and a couple of awkward scenes of a sexual nature.
Paul is perhaps the most intriguing character. His views on life are unique and he seems to have a dark side that is quite disturbing. On top of this, he has created an algorithm that apparently contains the key to immortality and some nasty people in China are determined to get their hands on it. The story of Alex and Jodi is quite dramatic, with a marriage that is falling apart, financial issues and a man who will most likely never see his child. Chelsea and Michael are the ones who go through more stable events. It is worth mentioning that there is also an unknown woman who spies on some of the characters.
Repetition is present here and what is meant by that is that characters are do the same actions time and time again. For instance, Alex frequently works on his computer, doing editing and characters are often on their laptops and there is also a lot of pillow talk. There are also some interesting imaginative scenes.
Long takes are common, with the camera being static and Ash is creative with the editing. Another technique that is utilised frequently is text messages appearing in bubbles. Regarding the soundtrack, Charlie McCarron provides a dramatic and beautiful score and the sellection of songs is rich. Nearly all the episodes contain the track Psalm 23 by Carrallee during the closing credits for dramatic effect.
Arguably, the aspects that stand out the most are the ideas that the series theorises about what life is. How did life begin? What is reality? Do people control their actions or is everything already decided by a higher power? Apart from this, the acting is strong, the dialogue is well-written, the story and characters are engaging, making the viewer look forward to the next season.