The Lost Boy
Review by Mark Schwab
We live in strange times. It seems like there are some people in this country enjoying unprecedented wealth but at the expense of the "99%" - meaning you and me. When these wealthy thieves get caught in fraudulent business practices, they get "bailed out" with no consequences. The game known as The American Dream started to look and feel rigged. Finally, some Americans' heads exploded and they began to "occupy" Wall Street in protest by living in encampments outside of financical institutions.
I have no doubt that plenty of those Occupy protesters had suffered either an emotional or financial trauma as a result of those institutions (or felt they had). When a traumatic event happens to us, it is always tempting to shake up our life like an etch-a-sketch, creating a blank slate so we can draw up something totally new. But if you don't resolve that trauma and grief, it just pastes itself onto your new life and situation which can have even more tragic results.
Owen Tomlins' short film The Lost Boy presents this darker side to the idealism of being a mouse fighting a gorilla. When James (Jared Finklestein) loses his father, he also loses too much of his identity. In desperation and grief, he jumps on the idea of driving out west to try and figure himself by joining the Occupy Wall St. movement. It is there that he meets Daniel, Alana and Teddy (Jake Vincent, Jaya Prasad, Abe Holston) and the four of them seem to band together in solidarity and friendship. But James' issues run deep and he is spinning out of control emotionally.
The film is told in flashback, documentary style, with Daniel serving as a sort of narrator recounting the events which befall the four of them after James is added to their group. This structure works well because this is a story where the characters wouldn't have seen all the implications at the time it was happening. It is only upon reflection that the red flags were everywhere to be seen. It's a tragic case of being a "Monday morning quarterback".
The Lost Boy creates a thought provoking tone and mood, with Jake Vincent as Daniel never slipping into maudlin theatrics when recounting the events. It's sad, but never melodramatic. In fact it's all very believable which draws you into the story immediately.
Director Tomlins does a wonderful job visually by integrating real life Occupy archive footage into his original story. It's totally seemless and very authentic. My only quibble with this film is that, at 10 minutes, it actually feels a little too short. This idea and story is rich with potential and could have been developed into a feature.
The Lost Boy is not easily available yet (as it hits the film festival circuit) but you can follow its movements at their Facebook page -