Drift (2010) – by James Dubbeldam

Drift, a 32 minute short written and directed by Jim Vendiola, is an interesting film about how one choice can ultimately change one day or the rest of your life. It’s a story about Annie (played by Annie Siffermann), a woman in her late twenties in search of a job (and something new in general) who finds an interesting personal ad on Craigslist while procrastinating.

“Anyone feel like ditching work tomorrow, and doing something fun?”

She hesitates answering the ad until the next morning. She places the call and makes plans with Dan (played by Dan Boldon). When they meet, it’s not too much of a surprise. It seems like they are both fairly “normal”. So far so good. Although awkward and kinda uncomfortable at first, Dan and Annie spend the day together temporarily “escaping” their lives. They hang out at the beach, go to the Aquarium and eventually end up back at her place where they discuss art, music and life. Dan evens plays a song for Annie on the guitar.

Later, in bed (but clothed) they dive deeper into who they really are and connect on another level.  Waking up the next morning at 8:48am and late for work, Anna rushes around her apartment almost unfazed by the unfamiliar man in her bed and the fact that her life has to continue on as it was. But when Dan tells her to “just leave me a key”, will Annie still be interested in him, considering everything they have just shared?

The film, laced with musical interludes and relying heavy on it’s soundtrack, starts off with a great depiction of “life” on the subway. Vendiola has a wonderful style when filming crowds. The sounds, the faces, the impersonal feeling when riding a subway with a group of strangers- an excellent way to start off this film.  Although the camera is shaky at first, the rich colours and style draw you in right away, even if the type of music isn’t your thing.

A long short film at 32 minutes, it takes a while to get started as the focus at the beginning of the film is establishing Annie, her life and her routine(s). The editing is quick, trying to compensate for the slower pace at first- which definitely helps- but the viewer should get the point earlier on (it’s too much). The quality of the film itself is ok; one is left to wonder what it would feel like if the film was shot on a better quality video camera.

When Dan’s character is finally revealed, their conversation is a little awkward, although that is the intention. Sometimes scenes and conversations can be awkward, without awkward dialogue itself. It’s basically in the actors hands, ultimately in the delivery of the lines.

The style of the film is artsy, but I don’t say that in a bad way. Vendiola has managed to create a fine line between an “art” film with a more mainstream film, balancing elements of both that shouldn’t scare the viewer off.

Not necessarily the fault of the actors- but as a viewer I didn’t see or feel the connection between the two main characters. I began to look for it, but almost didn’t believe it was there. Or maybe I wasn’t supposed to, as these characters are a little quirky, yet interesting.  The acting overall was decent. I can’t say I was blown away by either of the actors, but never disbelieved them- other then the above comment.

On many occasions in the film time passes accompanied by a musical interlude. Not that it doesn’t work, but for it to happen more then once in a short film almost seems like too much. I always wonder if in a film like this it was shortened would it be more powerful? In this case I would definitely say yes. I think a good chunk of time could be cut from the film, picking up the pace and some irrelevant shots to strengthen the important elements. As for the music itself, it’s not bad. But hearing music (not score) over and over again and recognizing that- isn’t a good thing.

Overall the directing of the film was good. I look forward to Vendiola’s next film and hope that he takes my “suggestions” lightly, as I enjoyed his work.  I didn’t find many common faults with audio or continuity, which says something right there. The film is professional and something to be proud of.

If quirky characters who take a chance and discover the possibilities around them in a day off work is your sort of film, then this is definitely worth checking out.

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Web Links:
Official Site: DriftFilm.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=349505226510
Trailer: http://vimeo.com/16056183

Also, the entire film is free to view online, until May 13, during the FirstGlance Film Festival Short Online Contest (free registration required):