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The Independent Critic

Andrew Morra, Lennon Sickels
Chris Aresco
68 Mins.
Random Media

 Movie Review: Backwards Faces 
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One of the very first things you'll notice in the opening moments of writer/director Chris Aresco's inventive and entertaining Backwards Faces is that almost the very second you meet Ken (Andrew Morra) and Sydney (Lennon Sickels) you like them even though, as we quickly learn, they aren't particularly fond of each other. 

It's this strangely compelling set-up that breathes life into this offbeat and intelligent low-budget sci-fi comedy that begins after a not particularly satisfying one-night stand and becomes something resembling a theoretical physicist's cinematic wet dream that somehow stays fresh throughout its slight yet perfect 68-minute running time. This is partly owing to Aresco's top-notch direction and more than a little bit because Aresco has cast the film sublimely with Morra and Sickels. 

If you've ever found yourself wondering if the multiverse world could possibly be brought to life convincingly in a film with practically zero budget, Backwards Faces is proof that with a good script, talented cast, visionary direction, and a wormhole that it actually can work. 

It actually does work. 

Picked up for an indie distribution by Random Media, Backwards Faces is an absolute delight from beginning to end as Sydney, a theoretical physicist, really wants to leave but finds herself more attracted to Ken's claims of being from a different universe than Ken himself. 

Where is this all going?

You can find out for yourself by checking out Backwards Faces on Prime Video, Apple TV, or VUD courtesy of Random. While I'm always game for watching a solid indie flick, Backwards Faces is especially worth your time. Despite their lack of chemistry, Andrew Morra and Lennon Sickels shine precisely because of their, well, chemistry. Equally poignant with impeccable comic timing, Morra and Sickels wring every nuance out of Aresco's satisfying and thankfully non-precious script. Original music by Nathaniel Meeks serves as a perfect companion for the film's unique journey and Jake Gorr's black-and-white lensing is top-notch throughout. 

If you were to simply sit down and read the description for Backwards Faces, there's a pretty good chance you'd say to yourself "There's no way this will ever work." You might even scroll on by. Don't do it. Stop. Scroll back. Take a chance. You'll be rewarded with a unique, weirdly satisfying and wonderful experience that will have you thinking about it long after the closing credits have scrolled by. Again. And again.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic