You could certainly call Run an experimental film or, maybe more accurately, an experimental cinematic duet of sorts. When filmmakers Brian Williams and Jason Hoover say that Run is like no other film, they certainly mean it.
You could call Run a road picture. That would be accurate.
You could call Run a horror flick. That would be accurate.
Hell, you could call Run a buddy flick of sorts. Yep, even that would be accurate.
It's all these things. It's also none of these things.
Hoover, of JABB Pictures and recent recipient of the Independent Filmmaker Award from Days of the Dead, and Williams, of Mostly Harmless Pictures and of Headless, have joined forces to create a film that should exist proudly amongst the year's finest indie/experimental efforts with an approach that is ballsy, psychotic, vulnerable and a hell of a lot of fun.
Hoover and Williams set out on a journey across America with no script and only a rough concept of a film. According to Hoover and Williams, all scenes and dialogue are 100% improvised throughout the journey that began in Greenwood, Indiana and ended up in Los Angeles.
2,500 miles. 2,500 different thoughts and ideas and emotions that race across the screen, or at least it seems that way.
Once they'd gotten their footage, Hoover and Williams each took the footage and began to edit, individually, their own idea of Run. It is said that they made a vow to not discuss their edits or ideas until the project had reached completion.
There you have it.
Two completely different cuts.
With each film running just shy of an hour, Run is soon to be released as a 2-disc DVD set that simply must be viewed in its entirety and, quite simply, must be seen in its intended order of the Mostly Harmless film first followed by Hoover's cut.
It's rather difficult to put into words exactly why the order of the films is so important, but you've got to trust me on this one. In some ways, it feels like the Mostly Harmless film lays the foundation with a slow, simmering dissolution of Williams' psyche' and grip on sanity. Dumped by his cheating girlfriend, Williams is left with pretty much nothing but the clothes on his back and an increasingly raging desire to get far beyond even. The film created by Williams is mesmerizing, both in terms of the creative and occasionally fucked up lensing, and the way Williams lives into something that you can't help but hope is really a character of sorts. Williams' edit isn't so much jarring as it's a study into how something that seems rather ordinary, such as getting jilted, can turn into the fine line between sanity and insanity, anger and absolute rage. Williams brings this all to life in a way that makes everything that unfolds in both films absolutely unforgettable.
Hoover, on the other hand, gives us more insights into Williams' character yet also spends less time building and more time delving into the actual madness in such a way that everything that unfolds, especially toward the end, is of a particularly devastating impact emotionally.
Within all of this, Hoover and Williams have woven together imagery that is both thought-provoking and emotionally riveiting along with sounds and scenes that are occasionally disjointed yet feel connected as everything winds down.
Run is the kind of film that truly should be experienced in one sitting for maximum impact. While it may be tempting to take a break after the first film, to do so is to mute the overall impact. From intimate facial expressions to awe-inspiring photography involving the Grand Canyon or other beautiful settings, Run weaves together a rather unique cinematic tapestry with so many different layers that you'll likely find yourself wanting to go back and watch it again and again. The film sort of feels like a cinematic Human Centipede experience, not because Hoover and Williams end up tied together (Thank you!), but because it's such a hybrid experience that at times it feels like we've got Van Sant going back-to-back with Korine and Hooper and a few others that I thought of as I was watching the film.
Yet, as much as other films and filmmakers came to mind there's simply no denying that this is a beast unto itself.
If you head into watching Run expecting it to be just like every other film you've come to expect from Hoover or Williams, you may very well find yourself shocked. If you're expecting to sit around and watch some good ole' hardcore torture porn, you'll likely be disappointed. Run is horror, but it's horror that is intelligent to understand what's truly horrifying is that which feels incredibly real.
Run is bold, brave, more than a little insane, probably a little stupid, incredibly thought-provoking, emotionally involving and, well, just a shining example of what happens when a couple of filmmaker friends put together a Kickstarter campaign for an absolutely outrageous idea and manage to pull it all off.
Mostly Harmless? Um, yeah. Not quite.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic