I must say all of the acting was very impressive, though the young boy was probably the weakest, he was ok. The cinematography was quite nice with some interesting lighting. It feels like the writer/director really captured something real. Many times it did feel like the actual events that occurred after he was released from prison. That was very impressive. But I feel it was trying to be a drama and a documentary at the same time, flip flopping from very matter of fact account of events to moments of storytelling and it just didn't work for me. I understand that this is to some degree a true story, and in parts it feels very true, to the point where its just a straight up documentary, it just wasn't very interesting (except the interview with the mother by her youngest son, and meeting his father at the end), or unique or didn't make for a compelling story. The "coming out of prison and readjusting to society" that this is, hits many of the predictable beats: trying to get back with a lover, reaching out to friends, trying to get a job etc. etc. and I disengaged a bit from the film. I kept asking "why are we watching this mans journey out of prison and back to society?"why is the camera on him, if its about seeing his estranged father that happens at the end, set the film up about that and build it toward that, that I'd like to see, or a film about the mother, she has lots of history and motivation and depth. I see SOOOO many of these indie features like this so focused on real, improvised dialogue thats all about capturing the character in a real environment, and what they would really say and how they'd behave, its all real life but they very often lack that compelling interesting element/edge. Its like a singer being able to mimic the sound of a guitar, its very impressive, but I want to hear a guitarist play a beautiful, moving melody on a guitar, or a photo realistic painting, but I want to see expressive brush strokes with moody colours. I seldom reached in and wanted to watch more of who this guy was and whats going to happen. It felt like just scene after scene after scene of real things but not very interesting things happening for the most part. However the scene where the protagonist argues with his mother over his brothers step father was excellent....man that acting was spot on. I must say the lead actor has got great talent. One other problem with these improvised, hyper real life films...theres no re-watchability to most of them unfortunately, because its so real theres no more 'meat on the bone' so to speak to go back again and savour, you got what you needed to get when you watch it once. It lacks that creative edge from a polished script that will have lots of creative elements woven in. Also, the script needed more compelling conflict IMO, and not just for the sake of drama but for the sake of stakes. If this character wants to readjust to society why is that so important to them and them alone like no other? I wanted to get to the heart of this character by experiencing why a good life on the outside means so much and I feel I didn't experience that a lot here, or enough, a bit here and there but not enough. Therefore there isn't enough depth to him IMO. I get that he wanted to see his father but that came in at the end, it was never building to that. What if he didn't get to meet him? what if he didn't get back with his partner? What's at stake? I don't know, therefore as I mentioned the film lacked that compelling edge to it, again I go back to the improvised screenplay. Events could really put him in the worst day of his life, and get worse from there in a way that touched on the essence of this character would of really helped develop this character. Its the difference between being told not to touch your hand on the cooker and actually burning your hand, its the visceral experience that lacking. There were a few characteristics like the drinking problem and the violent past that just felt a little tacked on, again I never felt that as the film went on I was going deeper into this character and I think thats were this improvised writing style, edited down didn't do the film any favours. This should have been structured and written as an actual script, not improvised. With an improvised script I can't imagine how tough the editing was so my hat is off to Sven. I have seen his work on YouTube and its very impressive stuff. In terms of a documentary it succeeds in execution very well, so congrats in that respect but it lacks the compelling edge or a very interesting lead character thats needed to support this format.
Flesh and Blood
Flesh and Blood
Mark Webber explores family dynamics, in a bold way using his real life family members.
January 12, 2021