...Around Film Review
By Courtney in Partner News and Reviews on June 4, 2009
Taking a life story and bringing it alive on the big screen
- Embrace the Fall
- By Writer/Director/Producer David Spaltro
"….Around" chronicles the life of the chief protagonist Doyle Simms (Rob Evans) as he struggles to live in New York City while attending film school. The movie spans over 4 years, in which Simms is subjected to various hardships of life in the city, and a burgeoning relationship with a pretty girl (Molly Ryman) to add to Simms' inner conflict.
The film was a labor of love for new Writer/Director/Producer David Spaltro. "...Around" was made in an astonishing 21 days and for only $175,000, which was funded by David himself. These facts paired with an unknown cast often cause many to develop negative pre-conceived notions of the quality of a film. However, I assure you that one cannot judge this film on those facts. This is one of the best independent films I have ever watched. In fact, the first ten minutes are so compelling that it allows the viewer to form a strong opinion to override any preconceived notions they may have had. The camera work emphasizes the beauty that New York City has to offer and a staggering number of locations (190 to be exact) were used in the film to add to the realism and to provide an accurate picture of city life. Perhaps, the ambiance of the city itself is what made the movie so magical.
The acting was far superior to some main-stream performers on the scene today. Rob Evans is amazing in the role of Doyle Simms. He portrays the emotions and feelings of a struggling young adult to a tee. His coming of age journey is so honest that it is compelling to behold. It has to be hard to portray a character that has gone through the hardships that Doyle Simms experiences, all for his craft. It takes a special actor to be able to dig deep within and find the emotion necessary to portray what they have never experienced. Rob Evans does just that in his fantastic portrayal of Doyle. Where many would find it daunting to portray a somewhat autobiographical character, Rob Evans grabs a hold and never lets go. Yes, at times the lines are predictable but one never doubts Rob as Doyle or what he will be able to do when faced with adversity. The narration by Doyle throughout the film was a very unique addition that really helped audiences connect with the character.
Molly Ryman is fantastic as Allyson, the love interest who has an instant connection with Doyle, yet is always at arm’s length. The character first appears to be very jaded but is still riveting to watch. Allison makes us want to learn more about her and her connection with Doyle to see where it may progress. At times, this romantic side story took on a romantic comedy angle that was true to form but it never had a ‘sappy’ or ‘corny’ feel. Ultimately, the relationship between Allyson and Doyle proved to serve as a springboard to the heart of the story. Ryman is an amazingly talented actress who can capture an audience with a hilarious scene or one that induces tears. While I see her in more of a dramatic role, her ability to transition from emotions during the film was very evident and will help her go a long way in this industry.
Ron Brice, Marcel Torres and Berenice Mosca round out the main supporting cast. Brice is perfectly cast as a homeless man who befriends Doyle and is the unlikely source of guidance and advice that hits closer to home than most would expect. Marcel Torres portrays 'Logic,' a good friend to Doyle through his struggles in the city. The weaker points of the film were a few of the longer scenes between Doyle and his mother (Berenice Mosca). While it was necessary to depict the connection between mother and son, Mosca’s delivery seemed forced and scripted at times. The "push and pull" from family and friends in the film was needed in some parts while in others was somewhat of a hindrance to the flow of the film.
While this film had a darker tone, it was not associated with death or gore which is an impressive stance in today’s cinema. Most dark films inevitably show a suicidal or severely depressed character that often overshadows the main points of the film. It was refreshing that this film could depict the "nitty gritty" of real life without showing the clichéd extremes. Audiences did not receive a typical, run-of-the-mill 'guy and girl fall in love' story with this film. Instead, this film was a real depiction complete with real life outcomes.
All in all, this movie just reinforced our love for independent films. It is apparent that much time, love and attention was given to the making of this film. There is so much heart and soul-- a unique brand of infectious energy that never quite makes it’s way into mainstream cinema. We have seen what Spaltro can do with $175,000. I’m absolutely intrigued to see what he could do with ten million for a project in the future. The possibilities would truly be endless and I for one, can’t wait.
"I definitely feel "...Around" was a success. It was something that started out more as a personal mission and was more "kamikazee" then long-term, but the real highlight for myself was all the great people that got involved and put all this amazing work into it. It's how it was able to be finished and why I continued to keep it afloat despite the many times the ship should have been blown. I didn't want all the good work and amazing things to go unrecognized. It's kinda like the Rolling Stones say, you can't always get what you want but sometimes you get what you need." -- David Spaltro.
...Around will be screening at the 2009 Hoboken International Film Festival on Wed June 3rd at 4pm at the Cedar Lane cinemas in Teaneck, NJ. If you have the opportunity to attend this festival, make sure ...Around is on your schedule.
...Around Film Trailer
An interview with David Spaltro can be listened to here.
An interview with Rob Evans can be listened to here.
An interview with Molly Ryman can be read here.
...Around is available for DVD purchase or rental at Amazon.com