“Forget everything you know” and engross yourself in David Spaltro’s newest indie film: Things I Don’t Understand. In his second feature film release Spaltro explores the world of a withdrawn prodigy, Violet Kubelick, played brilliantly by up and comer Molly Ryman who perfectly leads the cast. Fascinated by death and “the meaning to it [life] all, ” Violet begins writing a thesis, becoming mostly obsessed with interviewing those who have come close to it. The film opens with the aftermath of her most radical experiment – a failed suicide attempt.
As she reluctantly begins the healing process, Violet ends up visiting a hospital in hopes of continuing her assignment. She approaches the familiar setting with caution, but ultimately becomes captivated with a young, terminally ill patient Sara. A role in which young actress, Grace Folsom nails the part as a loveable, sharp-witted girl who has surprisingly honest notions about herself and everyone else…
The genuine friendship and spot-on perceptions enable Violet to face her dysfunctional virtues, and seemingly by default encourages those around her to do the same.
Supported by a combination of intriguing characters: a druggie/musician best friend, Remy (Hugo Dillon), failed activist roommate, Gabby (Meissa Hampton), an angel-like therapist, Dr. Blankenship (Veteran actress, Lisa Eichhorn) and, of course, a challenging love interest Parker McNeil (TV actor, Aaron Mathias).
Spaltro’s writing displays a soothing essence formulated by a realistic story of how some people (in this case), Violet and her friends/roommates choose to live daunted by the simple things they need most. A journey that once embraced propels them into the vivid and rewarding direction they were meant to experience.
Spaltro notes, “The project was always about the idea of faith and it’s individual meaning to every person.” The story is indeed solid— the directing and cinematography, however, remain somewhat in a safety zone.
As the film went on, so did the amount of basic camera angles, and simplistic visual set-ups, perhaps because the commendable acting and insightful writing were strong enough to capture the audience on their own merit. At times, the lighting also lacked a bit of contrast. And while Spaltro admits, “This project tested my own abilities and voice as a filmmaker.” It would have been nice to have seen him take more risks behind the lens, in terms of the technical aspects, and the shooting style of the film.
Overall, Things I don’t Understand takes an enlightening look at life and captures a straight forward tale of how inherent dysfunction can drive the way we live. In the end: showcasing how relationships with others are able to conquer it.
Just one of the reasons why we dig indie films.
For more information on the film: http://www.tidu-film.com/