Gillian Jacobs, James Badge Dale, Barry Corbin
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Having played at several film festivals throughout the country, writer/director Kathy Lindboe's NoNAMES is currently an official selection of the 2010 Indianapolis Film Festival as its festival run continues.
The film centers around Kevin (James Badge Dale) and his small group of friends in a Wisconsin town whose entire existence seems to revolve around alcohol, drugs and partying. When Kevin's girlfriend, CJ (Gillian Jacobs), is raped at one of these parties but refuses to press charges, it seems as if life around him begins to collapse.
It's sad to think that NoNAMES is inspired by a true story, given how utterly depressing this entire affair is over the course of the film's nearly two-hour run time. To describe Kevin as down on his luck would be an understatement, he could easily be described as the unluckiest man in Wisconsin and beyond.
After this tragic event, Kevin makes attempts to improve his life but it seems like his attempts are met with repeated failure even as the never charged rapist is allowed to continue disrupting the lives of those in the small community. Haunted by unsettled scores, it becomes clear that if Kevin is to ever move forward in life it may very well involve a bus ride away.
While NoNAMES nearly collapses under the weight of its overwhelmingly somber tone and far too laid back pacing, kudos to Lindboe for assembling a fine cast that manages to shine in the midst of it all, most notably co-leads Dale and Jacobs along with supporting player Barry Corbin, the film's only real Hollywood name though Dale certainly possesses a Hollywood lineage.
The film features a strong companioning soundtrack, though even the soundtrack drives home the film's intensity and generally depressing tone.
Of course, there's nothing particularly wrong about creating a serious film that seriously addresses its subject matter, but Lindboe keeps the film so relentlessly overwrought that it's difficult to sympathize with any of the characters and, even more troubling, difficult for the film itself to sustain its emotional impact.
The film brings to mind Bill Sebastian's superior Midlothia, a similarly themed film that managed to nail the pacing, vary the subject matter and delve deeper inside the characters to create an unforgettable cinematic experience.
It's easy to admire Lindboe's efforts here, but NoNAMES simply misses the mark.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic