My immediate first thoughts after a few minutes into Wednesday were "wow, so somebody likes the work of David Lynch". Don’t ask me exactly what had me thinking that, because after the film was over and done with, I look back and don’t see it as a film that was directly influenced by Lynch’s work to the point of it resembling his work. I suppose any time a film is overtly "arty" in style I tend to go back to my obsession with Lynch; but Wednesday seems to harken back more in my opinion to films of the French New Wave. I would be very surprised to find that the filmmakers were not familiar with the works of Godard, Truffaut or Fellini. Wednesday packs a lot of the angst that some of those works did. Imagine the youthful questioning of love, the world and everything else of any meaning that Godard seemed to invoke along with the visual expressionism (though in a more subtle and less "cinematic", earthier style) of Fellini’s work. Add to this a all or nothing attitude from the filmmakers that they would express everything within themselves with nothing held back; in such a deeply personal manner that we the audience become voyeurs into another life without even intending to. Justin D. Hilliard puts himself on the page in Wednesday in a manner so deeply personal, it is unlike anything I have ever seen. There are going to be critics who view Wednesday, and are going to feel that the metafiction twist of the ending might be too much and that this nullifies what came before it or might simply be turned off by how personal the film grows to be and I can already imagine those who might label this as "cheap". Well, opinions are certainly relative and I like to keep myself thinking on both sides of the coin and for my spin: I feel Wednesday is the expression of a young person who felt he had to tell a story, had to get something across and had to let others know that they may not be alone in similar feelings and he did just that in the most effective and clearest way possible and in dramatic fashion. Wednesday is without doubt one of the most ambitious independent films I have ever seen.
Wednesday is a film of multiple stories interwined together in a loose manner, they are tied together through the similar themes of love lost and self examination. The first story is Luke & Lucy, a story about a young couple in a relationship where the two are at a rocky period. Luke is angry with himself, his family and the turns his life has taken. Lucy tries to help him out and console him, but he is wrapped up in his own anger to the point where he barely notices. After his father passes away, he is forced to travel back home and confront his mother and sister who both despise him. Luke must find salvation, but all he manages to do is boil his own anger and self loathing to a boiling point beyond his own ability to control. As his own life begins to spiral downward in a path of self destruction, he slowly brings Lucy down with him. The second story, Purgatory, deals with an older gentleman in England, Harold, who is dealing with the mistakes made in his own past. Dealing with his leaving the only woman he ever truly loved, and the death of their daughter who he saw as the only truly great or positive thing he had to hold onto in his life. Harold must deal with the passing and find redemption with his lost love Linda, to pull himself out of his own Purgatory.
Justin D. Hilliard and his team helped to create one of the most professional and intelligent first time features that come to my mind right off the top of my head, especially within the independent system. The film is a raw and emotional powerhouse that could have only been developed amongst artists. Even a small community of artists, but Wednesday holds true the feeling of being let into a small gathering of great minds and I feel appreciative to have been entertained in such a way. That sounds like I am being flattering, but I simply respect the truth that these filmmakers brought to their project and enjoy imagining the lives that such characters may live. Yeah, I’m a little crazy. No film can truly reach its own peak without a great cast of actors and Wednesday presents several very strong performances. At times it is obvious that some are first time actors or at least slightly inexperienced; but in my opinion for the most part everyone excuses themselves well if not superbly. Arianne Martin stands out in the film especially in her turn as Lucy in the opening segments, as a woman torn apart by her manic boyfriend who doesn’t seem to truly appreciate how much she loves him. She performs in her role pitch perfect, from subtle and endearing to abrasive and free. I am glad to hear that she will be working with Striped Socks Production on their future projects, because in my opinion she helped to form my understanding for the film and helped to bond all stories into one. Jack Hurst as Luke was given a very tough part and does very well with it, as a character who is incredibly frustrating in his approach to life. This would be a very easy character to make so bitter and angry that the audience would simply grow tired of and not feel the urge to ever sympathize with at any point. I feel that Hurst helped deliver a slightly immature quality to the role, and although that sounds bad I assure you it is not. Since Luke is a direct represenation of complete and utter youthful alienation, angst and anger – having a slightly childlike delivery helped me to find some common range with the character as a twenty-something myself now looking back at my own immaturity in my first relationships and the way I looked at life just a few years back as compared to now. Adrienne Marks and Philip Goldacre as Linda and Harold (respectively) are both played picture perfect in representation. The characters are almost diametrically opposed to Luke and Lucy in that they are both at the end of a very different relationship that is coming full circle but in a more mature and understanding manner. Harold is played lovingly by Goldacre, who shows his maturity from the youthful fool that he once was. Linda, played by Marks, plays her part in a very hurt and wounded manner and wins the audience over in short time. Even when she is shutting down the loveable Harold, the anger in her eyes that burns is always evidently there for a reason and when the two finally begin to look towards possibly reconciling their differences – the audience feels relief. Although opposites, both characters have warmth to them and the audience never feels particular towards one or the other. Which is the way I think it should have been.
Wednesday is a beautiful and poignant film that I hope can get some of the recognition that it deserves, and I personally cannot wait to see more from these filmmakers. Wednesday looks to be the start of a long and beautiful career, and having your first film being an emotional epic such as this – things can only get bigger and better. For more information on Wednesday and the Striped Socks production group, visit their website at Striped-Socks.com and pick up the DVD. At $10 for two hours or so of entertainment, it’s a steal. Check it out ASAP.