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Awake In The Dark
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Old March 13th, 2007, 07:40 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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Anyone see this movie yet? I read a review in the Boston Globe online. If the reviewer is correct, it was shot digitally on location in Rockport, Maine. The review was very positive.

Anyway, I live in Boston, so anytime someone around here creates a good, locally created indie drama, I raise a cup of clam chowder in salute!
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 06:24 AM   #2
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Well, I'm replying to my own post, because I finally got to see 'Islander'.

I totally recommend the film. It's a great film, and if you're an aspiring low budget filmmaker, it's a great example of what can be done.

The story takes place on a small island off the coast of Maine, where a dispute over fishing boundaries turns deadly. (I'm telling nothing beyond what's on the any review of the film.) The central character is a local fisherman who is sent to jail after accidentally killing another fisherman. The bulk of the movie is his return to his community and tries to pick up the pieces of life.

The strengths are the stellar performances of pretty much every member of the cast. Thomas Hildreth and Amy Jo Johnson are the leads, and their performances are terrific, and ably carry the movie. Veteran indie character actor Phillip Baker Hall is presumably the 'name' actor that helped get the movie produced. It's all shot on location, and you really get a sense of the community and the setting.

This is a story that requires the actors to communicate a lot through body language and facial expressions, and it works very well here. Hildreth's character goes through a incredible arc, and he communicates volumes just looking out into the sea. He's sympathetic and charismatic, yet his human flaws and strengths play out beautifully.

Not to give it away, but there's a reconciliation between Hildreth's character and his main nemesis, played by Mark Kiely. This could have been fake and schmaltzy, but I totally bought it and was beautifully shot and acted.

If I can make any criticism, the cinematography (shot on HD, not sure which camera) is a little dodgy in a few spots. However, the stunning location is used well and extensively, so don't take this criticism too hard.

There's a bit of over reliance on the extreme closeup. From my limited experience as a filmmaker, I find this is a common condition among low budget/inexperienced filmmakers. Yes, you want to get the audience to feel intimately connected with the characters. Yes, the extreme closeup is relatively technically easy set up. But some other shots would have kept the story a bit more interesting for me (it did wallow a bit).

Well, I make those criticisms as an addendum to my overall love of the film. If you like indie dramas, or are interested in what's can be done in the low budget digital cinema world, this is your ticket.

Last edited by Dennis Stevens; March 23rd, 2007 at 07:18 AM. Reason: thought better of it
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