“Tod (Zach Zint) is an unemployed musician and Lydia (Isabella DeVoy) is pregnant. They used to date each other and with a wedding as the reason, Tod and Lydia take a trip from South Dakota to Indiana. The trip is filled with detours, interesting strangers, and a physical injury that results in an eye patch.”
The location of the first scene reminds me of that crazy Mackelmore video from 2013, “Thrift Shop”. The music makes the scene, and sets up the overall tone of the film. Tod, played by an eccentric Zach Zint, instantly grabs my attention as he wanders through the thrift shop, and ultimately steals $5.20 worth of clothes- which is shown through a hilarious gag that sealed my fate with this film.
It almost seems like a slice of life film, telling the subtle story of Tod and Lydia. The overall color of the film sets the overall tone of the film, with a slight desaturation, leaving some colors standing out and vibrant, especially with Lydia’s yellow and green coats. The segment breaks are a nice touch, separating the major transitions with projected images of the cities that they travel through. As they reach new cities, however, it is introduced to the audience with a hand scrawled chapter break and name of the city. This isn’t necessary, and slightly detracts from the film, as the hand scrawling is just that, and appears to be more childish than the tone of the film.
The film has the nuances of a Wes Anderson film, using the locations to tell some of the story and let them become characters side by side with Tod and Lydia. The idea of the hipster generation that we live in today comes into play with the overall character structures and tones, as the two steal to get by, but not necessities- things that would increase their artistry, such as fabric paint to color in Lydia’s eye patch.
Zach Zint and Isabella DeVoy do a great job acting in the film- it marking their on screen debuts. They play the awkwardness of a broken up couple that is forced to deal with a hand that they weren’t expecting. They definitely carry the audience with the claustrophobia of being stuck in a car with someone for a long time, and the inevitable bond that is created while on that trip. Significant moments stand out and highlight their acting abilities, such as a bathroom scene in which Lydia tells Tod about a loss in his family. His reaction to that is not extreme- as we see in most Hollywood films today- but rather is real.
The cinematography is nothing to scoff at either. With a nice mixture of standard stable shots and some shaky movement shots, there is a nice flow that is appealing to eye and not detracting from the story. The majority of the film takes place during the stops that the characters make, which is intriguing for a road trip, and most films focus more on the actual road aspect or being in the car. This was an excellent choice for the film, and brings home that real-ness in the film.
With a dash of humor and a dose of relatability, “Different Drum” is a successful telling of Tod and Lydia’s story, and I look forward to future films from director Kevin Chenault. One last question, and this is an open question to the filmmakers: Where on earth did you find a working payphone?
You can find out more about “Different Drum” on their website: http://blackstrappictures.com/home