The latest low-budget, experimental flick from indie writer/director Cody Clarke, Bed stars Clarke alongside Chloe Castiglioni as a couple who spend an entire day in bed. Adapted from a Clarke penned novella by the same name, Bed is essentially a one setting motion picture, the exception being a couple of brief scenes early in the film when the girlfriend gets ready for a work day that never actually begins.
One of the challenges of being a film critic who focuses on the indie world is that what may seem like a novel, experimental concept to the average moviegoer can often come off as remarkably familiar. Such is the case with Bed, an interesting but familiar concept that has been pulled off with varying degrees of success in other indie projects over the years including Sunday, a Travis Betz project that landed a spot in my year-end "Best of" list in 2008.
Bed is a lower-budgeted project with a similar premise, though this film offers more in the way of true relationship analytics and a wider spectrum of emotions and experiences for the couple in question who, it's worth noting, are identified only as "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" throughout the breezy, well-paced 71-minute feature film.
Scheduled to be released via Amazon Prime in late February 2019 with a planned DVD/Blu-ray release later in 2019, Bed is a that possesses a low sizzle early on before picking up steam. If you're familiar with Clarke's filmography, you know that he's not afraid to tackle challenging, intense subject matter and there's almost no denying that Clarke has intentionally paced and framed the film just as it is which lulls us into thinking it's one thing yet Clarke's films are seldom, if ever, just about one thing.
There's much to like about the film's co-leads, Clarke stepping on camera and serving up a disciplined, honest performance while Castiglioni shines as the true gem here with a performance that is open, honest, transparent and never feels less than real. While the relationship itself didn't quite carry that same sense of authenticity, somewhat hindering this critic's appreciation of the effort, it feels surprisingly more emotionally resonant as the film evolves and the initial premise gives away to storytelling truths.
Bed was filmed over the course of about 10 hours with a crew that included only Clarke, Castiglioni, and Clarke's real life girlfriend, Chloe Pelletier. Again, Clarke is one of the more experimental filmmakers The Independent Critic deals with on a semi-regular basis and despite its familiarity Bed continues that tradition.
Bed isn't the kind of film that's going to work for everyone, but it's the kind of film that fans of indie, more experimental and more thoughtful cinema will very much appreciate. Similarities to Linklater's Before films are obvious, yet Clarke does a tremendous job of giving the film its own unique voice and bringing these characters to life in involving and engaging ways. Watch it for yourself when it arrives on Amazon Prime later this month!
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic