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The Independent Critic

Joe Holt, Amy Sloan
Brian James Crewe
Brian James Crewe, Joe Holt, Matt Keil, Amy Sloan, Mario Rivas (based upon stageplay by)
10 Mins.

 "Flat Earther" a Thoughtful, Emotionally Honest Film 
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It's no longer surprising when I find myself deeply appreciating a film from Brian James Crewe, a filmmaker I've followed for quite some time and a filmmaker whose work I've consistently admired for his gifts for storytelling, compelling visuals, and bringing out the best from his ensemble casts. This is once again the case with Flat Earther, a 10-minute short film that finds Crewe once again tackling meaningful subject matter with a story that is both universal and remarkably intimate. 

Martin (Joe Holt) and Cassandra (Amy Sloan) have gathered at what looks like a casual but trendy pub for what is hoped to be a successful second date for the attractive and intelligent duo who obviously share a passion for meaningful conversations and strong opinions about the issues of the day. The spark between Martin and Cassandra is obvious, their initial pleasantries quickly giving way to a deeper discussion about the adverse effects of social media and tech along with a shared interest in Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan. Before long, and almost inevitably, their conversation turns toward contemporary conspiracy theories for which the two are largely in agreement. 

Until they're not. 

What does it take to be in a relationship? When do we have to agree? When can we disagree? How much can we disagree? As the initially passionate but pleasant conversation becomes a little more intense, it becomes evident that Martin and Cassandra hold positions that will challenge how they see and experience one another. 

Can this wide chasm be bridged?

As always, Crewe has crafted a short film that is both remarkably thoughtful and emotionally honest. He's gifted with two stellar performers in Joe Holt and Amy Sloan, both of whom bring this material to life in ways that are both jarring and fiercely engaging. Adapted from a stageplay by Mario Rivas, Flat Earther allows both Martin and Cassandra to be intelligent, well-reasoned human beings even if it's likely inevitable that most of us will side with one or the other in their discussion. Flat Earther refuses to easy approach of demonizing one or the other, an approach that makes the film's climax particularly meaningful and gives the overall storytelling a believable continuity. 

George Feucht's lensing for the film is observational and richly human, especially toward the film's second half as we become closer to these two and we start to feel the physicality of their performances. Michaele Satterlund's production design is equally comfortable and creates the remarkable space for this wholly satisfying conversation to unfold. 

In the end, Flat Earther easily becomes one of my favorite Crewe films to date with a story that drew me in and absolutely never let me go throughout the film's ten-minute running time. Flat Earther accomplishes more with its ten minutes than a good number of feature-length films. 

Flat Earther continues on its indie fest journey and is definitely a film to watch for if it arrives at a festival near you. With a rich, heartfelt story and a terrific cast, Flat Earther is a film that will linger in the psyche long after the closing credits have rolled. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic