Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: 45365

American small-town life is the subject of this interesting, stunningly photographed but less than profound documentary.

June 17, 2010

-By Eric Monder


filmjournal/photos/stylus/142872-45365_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Though a fly-on-the-wall look at a Western Ohio community may sound tiresome, 45365 (the number refers to the city’s zip code) never becomes that and, with correct handling, this no-budget film could catch on as a cult favorite.

Directors Bill and Turner Ross shot for several months in 2007 in their native city of Sidney, capturing various aspects of the lives of the 20,000 people who reside in the community. We see everything from families at home to shoppers in stores to children on playgrounds and the everyday life and work of politicians, police officers, court officials, school students, religious leaders, nursing home providers, and many other sorts of denizens.

Part Fred Wiseman, part Robert Altman and part Harmony Korine, 45365 keeps one guessing as to its message—or even if it has any message. Like Wiseman, the Ross brothers promote the idea of leaving meaning up to the viewer, though shrewd Wiseman fans already know that the cinéma-vérité pioneer’s choice and ordering of shots creates meaning, not to mention point of view. Bill and Turner Ross continue this tradition, though they shy away from the sometimes telling details. (Wiseman frequently shoots in long-take close-up and occasionally focuses on a background figure during a sequence.)

Nevertheless, the Ross brothers, who both photographed their film, find beauty in the ordinary and, masterfully using their HD cameras, take pictures at odd angles, creating arresting images, turning 45365 into a sort of real-life Gummo, Korine’s infamous but fictional small-town story. Finally, the scenes involving pompous or bumbling politicians are reminiscent of Altman’s Nashville—except that they are also “real.” (At least we rarely get the sense the participants are performing for or playing to the cameras.)

The only thing missing from this bittersweet but mostly loving portrait is all the dark stuff we rarely see in this kind of documentary—i.e., the corruption, dirty-dealing and political chicanery that takes place in every community (small and large). The fly on the walls of those scenes would have been a mighty privileged insect, but no doubt swatted dead before it could tell its tale.


Film Review: 45365

American small-town life is the subject of this interesting, stunningly photographed but less than profound documentary.

June 17, 2010

-By Eric Monder


filmjournal/photos/stylus/142872-45365_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Though a fly-on-the-wall look at a Western Ohio community may sound tiresome, 45365 (the number refers to the city’s zip code) never becomes that and, with correct handling, this no-budget film could catch on as a cult favorite.

Directors Bill and Turner Ross shot for several months in 2007 in their native city of Sidney, capturing various aspects of the lives of the 20,000 people who reside in the community. We see everything from families at home to shoppers in stores to children on playgrounds and the everyday life and work of politicians, police officers, court officials, school students, religious leaders, nursing home providers, and many other sorts of denizens.

Part Fred Wiseman, part Robert Altman and part Harmony Korine, 45365 keeps one guessing as to its message—or even if it has any message. Like Wiseman, the Ross brothers promote the idea of leaving meaning up to the viewer, though shrewd Wiseman fans already know that the cinéma-vérité pioneer’s choice and ordering of shots creates meaning, not to mention point of view. Bill and Turner Ross continue this tradition, though they shy away from the sometimes telling details. (Wiseman frequently shoots in long-take close-up and occasionally focuses on a background figure during a sequence.)

Nevertheless, the Ross brothers, who both photographed their film, find beauty in the ordinary and, masterfully using their HD cameras, take pictures at odd angles, creating arresting images, turning 45365 into a sort of real-life Gummo, Korine’s infamous but fictional small-town story. Finally, the scenes involving pompous or bumbling politicians are reminiscent of Altman’s Nashville—except that they are also “real.” (At least we rarely get the sense the participants are performing for or playing to the cameras.)

The only thing missing from this bittersweet but mostly loving portrait is all the dark stuff we rarely see in this kind of documentary—i.e., the corruption, dirty-dealing and political chicanery that takes place in every community (small and large). The fly on the walls of those scenes would have been a mighty privileged insect, but no doubt swatted dead before it could tell its tale.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Drive Hard
Film Review: Drive Hard

A car-chase-heavy clunker whose vehicular set-pieces are almost as lame as the recurring sight of star John Cusack attempting to look cool while firing pistols. More »

Harmontown
Film Review: Harmontown

Open-nerve documentary about “Community” creator Dan Harmon’s chaotic live podcast tour after being fired from his own TV show is sometimes raggedly funny, but truly a fans-only artifact. More »

The Liberator
Film Review: The Liberator

Impressively mounted but overly truncated take on a great historical figure about whom much more needs to be known. More »

The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin
Film Review: The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin

Wide-ranging primer is involving but leaves some details hazy. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

The Equalizer Review
Film Review: The Equalizer

Former agent is drawn out of hiding to fight a Russian gang in a reboot of the 1980s television series. More »

The Boxtrolls
Film Review: The Boxtrolls

Another amazingly meticulous and stylish stop-motion tale from the Laika studio, this time focusing on a boy adopted by a population of maligned underground trolls. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here