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The Independent Critic

Written and Directed by
Jack Daniel Stanley
Gary Chason, Sue Rock, Brandon Boggs, Louis Moncivias, Chris Higgins, Parker Danks, Megan Vestal
Running Time
12 Mins.

 "Depth of Phil" Review 
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Amidst delusions of saving failed U.S. banks and car companies, an aging homeless man reconnects with a long-lost sweetheart thanks to Facebook in Depth of Phil, a quirky tragicomedy with an outstanding performance by lead Gary Chason as Phil, whose grasp on reality is slowing disappear with the exception of his long treasured memories of teenage love with Janice (Sue Rock).

Wonderfully paced by writer/director Jack Daniel Stanley, Depth of Phil is expertly balanced so that Phil's desperation for connection never feels pathetic but, instead, feels heartbreakingly human. So many actors would have portrayed Phil as a drunken caricature, but Chason intertwines Phil's hopeless situation with his underlying hopefulness and, as well, the increasingly delusional state in which he lives.

The initial interactions between Phil and Janice are uncomfortably heartfelt, an awkward dance of expectation and hope amidst touches of disappointment. There are moments when you just find yourself wanting to hug both Phil and Janice, two people whose lives may very well be more similar than the other will admit.

Along with Chason's fine performance, Sue Rock shines in what is a quieter yet no less important role as Phil's long-lost love. Rock has less drama to sell her story, but her body language and facial expressions reveal that there's far more going on than meets the eye.

Depth of Phil is powerfully constructed even amidst its darker humor, with Vincent Pascoe's camera work clean and crisp and Roger Sellers' original music proving quite complementary to the film's multi-layered tones.

Kudos to Stanley for penning sensible, realistic dialogue that avoids melodrama and stereotypes in favor of richly human characters and scenarios that unfold with all the heartbreak and humor that life affords us through our peaks and valleys.

    The 50/50 x 2020 Pledge

    The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.

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