Published on April 11th, 2007 | by Erich Becker0
Review: Death of Seasons
Death of Seasons from director Chance White and writer/star Delfo Baroni busts in from the independent scene clearly wearing its influences on its sleeve but also proposing an interesting, new spin on the conventional psychological thriller that mixes parts of the genre’s best techniques and staples together to produce a film worthy of your time and money.
Produced on less than $10,000, Seasons never really shows its low-budget roots and cleverly uses real-world sets to mask these budget limitations, employing the use of both handheld and still cameras the view into this world is intricately paved out by White’s vision, especially the use of long range zoom in shots and long cuts. One particular cut has the film’s two protagonists walking the sidewalk of a residential street, never missing a beat the tit-for-tat dialog continues until either a very obvious cut is employed or a misplaced stylistic device seems to detract from the very impressive camera work. Seasons is easily one of the best independent films from a technological and stylistic standpoint with the aforementioned camera work combined with concise editing, and great lighting effects.
From the very beginning the filming and editing seems to employ a very Se7en-like Fincher cut with quick, distorted jump cuts, muted color palette, and image flashes akin to Tyler Durden appearance in the first act of another Fincher masterpiece, Fight Club. The film seems to channel many different films including Clerks with its liquid dialog, philosophical debate in the oddest of places (a Tarantino like conversation in a corner café), and pairing of two main characters who seem to have nothing in common but play off each other so well.
The script is generally tight and, as mentioned previously, Baroni’s dialog, while choppy at times, has the flow of some of the industries’ most respected linguists. The film isn’t completely linear, and as it goes on it becomes a bit harder to determine if things are indeed jumping from event to event, or are truly running in a straight line. The character’s clothing indicates that former rather than the latter. Generally this isn’t completely distracting, but it could be better established on how this should be interpreted by the viewer.
The story itself centers around two individuals who are dealing with the trials and tribulations of life in different ways. Aaron is torn between the physical desires of his human being and the spiritual requirements of his religion as he tries to find a happy balance with each side pulling him further off-center. Gabriel’s story is harder to pin down as the American Psycho-like ending may leave more questions than answers but after listening to the commentary provided and reading deeper into the film’s meanings one can see into the mind of the disposed character.
There’s an odd “musical” number in the film’s second act which doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the film, even after the ending is revealed. In fact, the second act in general seems to drag on a bit and slows down the film’s taut, brisk first act which brings the viewer into the world of Gabe (Baroni) and Aaron (Justice Leak). The third act picks up once again as the narrative comes to a head, although the big reveal ending does come off slightly confusing as the viewer searches for motives to Gabriel’s actions they might not have picked up on earlier in the film.
The film’s cynical commentary and religion vs. atheism arguments resonate well as social commentaries, whether intended or not, on the nature of the world we live in. Most of this is embodied in the conversations Gabe has with his cantankerous, blind neighbor Mr. Harper (Kermit Rolison) who’s less than bright outlook on life certainly highlights the dark comedy aspect of the film.
Death of Seasons excels as a film that never lets the low-budget, independent stigma bring it down. The excellent direction by White and wonderful writing and portrayal of Gabe by Baroni only solidify the film’s ascension to the top of the indie scene. With some tightening of the script in a few places, and some smoothing of a few rough spots of dialog it wouldn’t surprise me to see Death of Seasons on a theater marquee in the very near future.
For more information on Death of Seasons, check out the official website right here.