All Along (2008) – By Josh Samford

 All Along is an interesting bird that happened to fly through my window. Part comedy, part serious dramatic effort – it follows a story close to our culture. Men and the way we deal with our lives when we reach that milestone we all dread: 40. Essentially knowing you might not live another fourty, wondering if you’ve spent the first half of your life as wisely as you should have. The film follows Richard, a heavyset accountant who just hit the big number and has been daydreaming ever since – seeing attractive women everywhere he goes; sexual fantasies around every corner and did I mention all the beautiful women? Yeah, big Rich has some fine tastes I’ll give him that much. These daydreams aren’t like everyone else’s though – Richard actually sees what he is dreaming of, and actually starts to talk back to them. His boss, recently promoted, is young, beautiful and he feels more than just a little passed over. His children… well, they’re generally back talking little evil teenage monsters and his wife: albeit the best thing going in his life; seems to recently bore him. Although, it might not be that she bores him – but that all he can think about are the great love affairs that could have been. With his mind constantly wandering to sex with every woman he sees, and even many that aren’t really there, he takes it on himself to go see a psychologist to help him make sense of it all.

All Along is actually one of the better looking films to pass my desk from the independent scene in a long time. This becomes apparent in the opening moments with an animated montage of many of our various characters throughout the film, it’s a fun and lively little introduction that gets you ready for the following film. The actual look of the film is just great, with more impressive framework than I would have expected in a film like this that really didn’t have to go that extra mile and deliver much in the way of interesting photography; there are moments like the one where we see a female driver through her rear view mirror on the right side of the frame staring blankly ahead – while we see the character of Richard on the opposite side of the four-way stop on our left gazing longingly at the beautiful young female. The one shot tells the whole story of the sequence and is a beautiful way to introduce us to that inner loneliness the main character feels. The performances are all actually surprisingly well done, down to the younger actors playing the son and daughter as well as the flashback versions of our main cast –  who you would expect would be the hardest to cast but everyone equips themselves very well and receive excellent marks at the end of the day. The leading man Bill Page does very well in his role with a hint of naivety of the father who can’t let go, but also with a touch of sarcasm in everything he does. The beautiful Krista Allen, who I will always remember from my youthful days of watching Cinemax on a Friday night, is fantastic in her role as the psychologist with a ton of sex appeal. Another bit of the cast worth mentioning is the always lovable Misty Mundae, now credited as Erin Brown, who plays the rather prudish boss in most scenes but shows a lot of flair as a dominatrix in one of the most humorous sequences of the movie. Mundae (she’ll always be Misty to me, sorry!) is a tremendous talent, thought to be "just a scream queen" at one point; with her performances of recent she shows she is certainly more than just a tight body and beautiful face – the girl has talent! Graphically impressive, and skillfully acted – it’s certainly a well put together film and has some star power to accompany these boasts.

Now, did I enjoy All Along? Actually, I really did. There were moments where I began to question where the film was going. The beginning of the film opens strong, all the way up until the hypno-therapist scenes – where I guess for some reason my mind kept expecting the film to move along. Instead, the film moves into Richard and all of his various day-dream/fantasy moments. I wasn’t expecting the majority of the film to take place over this one session with the doctor, and after the third or fourth dream sequence the film started to feel slightly episodic – however I think the saving grace for the film was the buildup to the final conclusion and the emotional release that comes with it. Once you figure out where the film is going over this session, it becomes a little more clear what the filmmakers were going for and this is where the real heart of the film steps up and truly makes it memorable. I think when you add everything together on top of this heavy contemplation of life and where we find our happiness, you get a very well crafted and warm film about life and love. I definitely recommend it and think it’s definitely a film that shows a lot of promise from a lot of truly talented filmmakers. Definitely check it out, you can read more about it here at the official website.