In The Wake of Ire screens today at 3:15p at the Tivoli theater with director . Get tickets here.
Quick Hit: Overcomes some iffy dialogue to become an affecting emotional piece.
Though I mentioned in my last film review, I stated that I loved St. Louis International Film Festival because of its interest in the International portion of its name. Today I get to mention that I love the festival because of its St. Louis portion. That’s because one of today’s films is In the Wake of Ire, featuring St. Louis native Gregory Sporleder, and was filmed in Glasgow, Missouri. We may not be Hollywood, but we still have plenty of film activity!
In the Wake of Ire has a bit of a slightly icky plot, for lack of a better word. A father, Benjamin (Gregory Sporleder) reunites with his daughter Rosemary (Whitney Morgan Cox) after 20 years. She doesn’t recognize him due to a childhood accident, but he recognizes her. After a meet-cute that would not be out of place in a romantic comedy, the two begin spending time together, and he is fearful of admitting his relationship to her. However, this means that eventually she starts to fall for the kind-hearted older man. Like I said, I bit icky right? I will say – the film gets past this, and doesn’t focus too much on the implications.
This is a film that really takes its time telling the story it wants to tell. This means we get several long shots of the casts’ faces, followed by more shots from different angles. This is meant to convey longing and maybe a depth to the story that is hinted at, but doesn’t materialize until late in the film. I honestly think that the story takes too long to really get there. Part of that is the format of it - the film tells several stories, sometimes in flashback – the tragedy that happens to Rose as a girl, the story of a new restaurant being built in town (and a young man who is working as hard as he can to get the lead chef job away from Rose), and the current story of Ben and Rose and their tenuous relationship.
I think the acting is pretty good in the film – Sporleder and Cox do a great job with what they’re given. Sporleder particularly succeeds when given the opportunity to speak and react to other’s conversations. I actually think his scenes as Young Benjamin are the best, as he drowns himself in alcohol as he attempts to cope with what happened to his daughter, and the strain it puts on his relationship with Rose’s mother. He conveys a deeper depth to the story than I think the dialogue actually gives us. Cox, for her part, has an extremely expressive face (makes me think of Mary Elizabeth Winstead). She allows us to feel her loneliness, as someone who struggled with the lonesomeness that a loss of memories would bring.
Technically the movie has a few issues. There are times where I think the lighting could use a few adjustments. Light in rural Missouri is extremely harsh outside, and washes out some of the cast, and then scenes shot indoors sometimes have a dull look which is almost indicative of sepia tones. While some of this may have been intentional, it just gives a feeling of dullness that hurts the look of the film. I did, however, like the use of slightly out of focus shots at times to give a depth of background.
As all stories build towards their respective climaxes, I think the movie hits its most effective point. Though I may not have thought that the build-up was done well, the climax is handled excellently. Writer/Director Brian Maurer has great control of a story with no dialogue. I really enjoyed the ending of the film, as things go full circle. It actually brought the film to a much higher grade than I was originally going to give it. I’ll end by saying that In the Wake of Ire is a film that has its flaws, but does a lot to overcome them. I’m going to give the film a “B”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"