Writer/Director: Jon Moisan
Starring: Sinclair Wheeler, Moses Jones, Joey Martin
Running Time: 42 Mins.
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|Grade: B+ to B
|Grade: B- to C+
|Grade: C to C-
|| "Free Wall" Review
While "Free Wall" isn't flawless, writer/director Jon Moisan's story of letting go of stereotypes and opening the door to connection is easily the most richly developed and satisfying of the four Hoosier shorts.
"Free Wall" introduces us to a trio of young man, all working in a factory and bringing different backgrounds, different baggage and different wants/needs to the scenario.
James is a young, single dad living with his mom and trying hard to do the right thing while raising his young child. He works alongside his best friend, Jermain, a more troubled young man who's dealing drugs on the side and pressuring James to join him. Both young men are African-American men obviously raised in an inner-city neighborhood. Into this mix is thrown Cole, the factory owner's son from the suburbs.
"Free Walls" builds an awkward tension between the three as, over time, James and Cole begin to develop a friendship over their mutual love of creative pursuits while Jermain remains troubled by this obviously spoiled, rich young man and, as one could expect, eventually the tensions will boil over.
Part of Ball State University's efforts in immersive learning experiences, over 180 students spent 18 months working on "Free Wall." While the final result doesn't always gel perfectly, it's an ambitious and largely satisfying effort that begs the question "What do you do when you're forced to interact with someone from a different background?"
One could easily argue that "Free Wall" occasionally gives in to the racial stereotypes it purports to protest, but by film's end it becomes clear that Moisan's film succcessfully gets across the idea that we're a lot better off if we set aside our differences and work together.
The most satisfying performance comes from Sinclair Wheeler as James, the single dad. Wheeler effectively portrays a young man torn between peer pressure and personal responsibility, and he nicely brings to life James's initial resistance at working with the boss's son.
While Moses Jones and Joey Martin are generally solid, though neither actor quite achieves the range necessary to pull off the film's more intense scenes.
Tech credits are appropriate for a crew that is largely university based, and the film's musical accompaniment is a fine collection of Indiana based musicians.
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