Antony (Logan Sparks) is a stressed out toy collector in a bad relationship with Rose (Amy Claire) who has lost his ways, his enthusiasm and, well, just about anything else that might be enjoyable to watch on the big screen.
Written and directed by Brian McGuire, Sick of It All was released for distribution by indie distributor Gravitas Ventures on January 3rd and is currently available through most of your usual VOD outlets including Amazon, Youtube, Vimeo, iTunes and more.
McGuire aspires to a noirish look and feel with the film, a retro vibe that fits well with Sparks's classical looks and the film's musical accompaniment. Based, somewhat flexibly, off the French children's book The Little Prince, Sick of It All is a light comedy about a loveless relationship, a guy whose sick of it all and the kid (Zion McGuire) who inspires some changes.
It's all an interesting idea. I just wish it had worked a little more.
The opening moments in Sick of It All are rather painful to behold, McGuire's slick, more futuristic than noirish style clashing with the non-stop, decidedly non-retro bickering that appears to be non-stop between Antony and Rose. McGuire has attracted some fine support for the film in the persons of well known character actor Harry Dean Stanton and the Sklar Brothers, though their presence doesn't really do much for the otherwise ambitious but underwhelming effort here.
Fortunately, as things calm down and the story expands, Sick of It All becomes comfortable enough that one can see where McGuire was going with the effort even if it's not entirely successful.
Sparks and Claire are two talented individuals saddled with material that doesn't allow them to shine. It's perhaps a tad more surprising with Sparks, a frequent McGuire collaborator who clearly gets McGuire's artistic vibes. Both Sparks and Claire have both acting and stand-up comedy credits, though Sick of It All never really benefits from the spontaneity one typically finds in the comedy scene and would hope to find in a film like this one. Indie vet Chris Doubek does have quite a bit of fun as Camillian Daily, a new age guru of sorts.
The film's noirish touches are a mishmash with dialogue that feels contemporary and even certain threads within the the story feeling somewhat out of place. On the other hand, connections to The Little Prince are obvious, perhaps even fundamental, yet do add a certain spark to the film.
McGuire, a gifted filmmaker, has been making indie flicks for several years with his first film, On Holiday, premiering at London's RainDance Film Festival and McGuire being cited as one of the "Top Ten Filmmakers to Watch." Since then, he's consistently forged solid filmmaking partnerships and has worked with the likes of Mark Boone Jr., John Hawkes, Stanton and others.
An interesting idea that never quite gels, Sick of It All never quite captures the magic and wonder of the childhood it celebrates and in the end we're left with what feels like noirish Jarmusch lite. The film may still appeal to those with more experimental tastes as it's clear that McGuire's doing some unique things here and even if it doesn't quite get there, sometimes it's fun watching a filmmaker have fun with the process of filmmaking.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic