March 31st, 2017
Review by Mark Schwab
Regret can be a very insidious emotion. If I had just zigged when I should have zagged...said yes instead of no...told a certain someone how I really felt instead of holding back. This is the arena that director Steven Horacio Flores and writer/star Paige Sciarrino are playing in with the brand new short film ROLLING.
We begin with Ben (Tony Knotts) having a cell phone argument with his wife Allison about getting a specific kind of organic pineapple juice. The scene is solidly written and performed in setting up the obvious disdain and boredom for his marriage - these two are already tired of each other. It is while he is shopping at the farmer's market that he notices Molly (Paige Sciarrino) and we are thrust into flashback to a time when Ben had a choice between courting/marrying Allison or following his real feelings to pursue Molly.
ROLLING does show a nice command of visuals at times, especially the present-day scenes showing a rich texture and effective color grading. The flashback scenes a bit less so though with a too-typical grainy black and white that flattened out the image. There is also a quite lovely soundtrack and score provided by Cooper Wright that serves the overall dreamlike tone well.
What keeps ROLLING from getting to truly memorable status is the screenplay and some awkward directional choices. The main problem with the script is that it just didn't take any risks narratively for me - we've seen this story played out before and Sciarrino's screenplay doesn't bring enough new points to re-imagine it. Regarding the direction by Steven Horacio Flores, he does just fine in shepherding the story coherently but he under-directs the main performances - despite their general on-screen appeal, there were too many times when Knotts and Sciarrino looked a little lost in how to play their scenes which somewhat blunts the emotional involvement.
Don't get me too wrong here...ROLLING is a perfectly pleasant way to spend 18 minutes. It's a nice indie production. I just wish it had been a little more original and/or unusual.