Trevor Morgan, Analeigh Tipton, Elizabeth Rice, Katherine LaNasa, Thomas Jane, Wallace Langham, and Noah Dahl
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Breaking Glass Pictures
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"Buttwhistle" Arrives on Home Video on May 27th
The second feature film from Tenney Fairchild, Buttwhistle is one of those indie dark comedies even when you sit there staring at the screen realizing that it's actually trying to be an indie dark comedy.
It's trying to be what it is. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, right?
Buttwhistle isn't a flawless film, but it is an almost endlessly entertaining and thought-provoking film thanks largely to a terrific performance by Trevor Morgan (The Sixth Sense, Empire Falls) as Ogden Confer, a community college student dealing with the loss of his best pal, Rose (Analeigh Tipton), who foils the suicide attempt of a mysterious young lady named Beth (Elizabeth Rice).
Beth isn't exactly happy about it.
At first glance, it appears that Ogden is your typical easygoing slacker, a likable guy with a casual persona whose desire to help out most everyone in need is in stark contrast to the cynical and pessimistic Beth, squirmily brought to life by the marvelous Elizabeth Rice (television's Madmen). While she's playing a ghost of a character, Analeigh Tipton gives such life to the person of Rose that the more we learn about her the more easy it is to understand exactly why our seemingly casual Ogden is actually a young man not so casually caught in the throes of a complicated grief. Tipton will be familiar to audiences from her work in Warm Bodies and Crazy, Stupid, Love along with The Green Hornet, the latter being a film that I'm fairly sure only about 13 people have seen.
Buttwhistle is a decent film that ultimately should have been a considerably better film given the quality of its cast and the rather intriguing subject around which it is built. Unfortunately, it never quite catches a consistent groove and ends up too often feeling like pieces of cinema rather than a coherent film.
No, I'm definitely not saying that a structured narrative is required of cinema. In fact, it's rather refreshing when a filmmaker opts to ignore the rules and create the film that's supposed to be made. In the case of Buttwhistle, that indie vibe often feels more intentional than a choice that manifests out of the characters and their stories. That said, the film still succeeds on a fairly substantial level and for the dark, even hateful chemistry that goes back and forth between Ogden and Beth that it's hard not to want to watch and keep seeing where Fairchild takes it next.
A good enough film that it makes me want to check out Fairchild's first film, The Good Humor Man, Buttwhistle also features terrific supporting turns by Thomas Jane, Adhir Kalyan, and Noah Dahl among others.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic