Years ago I reviewed another film from director Mark Millicent called Fizzy Days that I really enjoyed, so when he contacted me about reviewing his new film, A Date with an Angel, I happily agreed.
This film starts out with a typical scumbag type. He drinks, he smokes, he steals motorcycles and he robs bars. On this particular day, he combined all of those elements into one big douche bag full of suck, and once he’s done with that, he takes the motorcycle and goes for a ride up a curvy mountain road that’s lined here and there with memorials of the people who died while traversing it.
Eventually, he stops to take a rest and check out the view from an overlook on the mountain, and that’s when he encounters a little girl of indeterminate age, but I’m guessing she was around twelve or so. She appears out of nowhere, walking behind him at the overlook, and while a bit surprised about her appearance, he doesn’t seem to think too much of it. The two sit down together and lean against a rock while they talk about life and whatever. She’s more than she seems, but will he listen, or will he just continue on the path to his own destruction?
Ok, now for the review bit…
I’m having a hard time finding the words to talk about this one, and I’m not sure why. I guess because I found the movie to be a bit strange, but not in a bad way, just in a hard to describe way.
The biker was played by Tom Demar. I think it was really his performance that threw me the most. He played a scumbag, but he wasn’t 100% scumbag. Like, he robbed the bar and stole the motorcycle, he drinks and smokes and seems generally sleazy, yet he didn’t kill the bar owner. He had just jumped him and then tied him to a chair. Then when he meets the girl, he was still kind of a douche, but he didn’t get nasty with her or anything. He was skill kind of drunk when they talked, so he wasn’t overly cordial, but it wasn’t like nasty or anything. It’s almost like he was borderline scum. Like all it would have taken was one life changing event to wake him up and turn him around, but he’d never come across something like that, so he just continued cruising through life being a general jerk off. Tom Demar played the role extremely well and really brought out this borderline aspect of his character in a great way. He’s not likeable at all, but you have a feeling he could possibly be under different circumstances.
Taylor Colbert put in a wonderful performance as the girl. She sounded more mature and wise than her years would indicate, and there’s a reason for that, which I’m sure you can guess. She played the character exactly as it needed to be played. Mature and knowing, while at the same time, still having undertones of being a bit sad and longing. Even when the biker got a bit obnoxious, her response was very stoic.
The technical aspects of the film, with a couple of minor exceptions, were really well done, as I had expected they would be since I’d already seen the quality of Mark’s previous film. The camera shots and angles in particular were well thought out and well done, which is a compliment to the director of photography, Mike Roby.
The only exceptions with the quality of the film are the green screen shots of the biker riding his motorcycle and the CGI bit at the end that didn’t really look all that great, but did serve to get the point across. The green screen shots weren’t bad, but they were obviously green screened. I totally understand why this was done, as it can be difficult to film a motorcycle traveling up a mountain road, so it wasn’t a big issue. Other than these two issues, the film was technically really well made and looked and sounded great.
The running time of this film is around eleven and a half minutes, which was a perfect time for it. It’s not too short to tell the story, and not so long that it feels like it’s dragging things out with a bunch of filler. Mark Millicent should be commended for understanding proper timing and pacing. There’s nothing worse than when a film is stretched out way beyond what the story calls for, or is so short that it leaves you wondering what you’re missing. I can think of ways that this film could be stretched out into say, an hour long film or more, but there’s no reason at all to do that when you can tell the story in a very tight and well written eleven and a half minutes.
I really enjoy seeing Mark’s films. It’s been a long time since his last one, and it’s great to see that he’s back with a new one. Currently this film is being submitted to various festivals. If you get a chance to see it, definitely check it out. It has a thoughtful and unique quality to it that I think you’ll enjoy.
If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its Facebook page here.