|Film Reviews: Drawing with Chalk (2009) - By Duane L. Martin
Posted on Friday, January 01, 2010 @ 20:11:19 Mountain Standard Time by Duane
Drawing with Chalk is the story of two guys who had tried to make a go of having a career in music back in New York when they were younger, but instead ended up moving back to their home town and working in the union factory. Now, with both pushing 40, they decide to try to make a go of it one last time. Unfortunately, Jay (Todd Giglio) gets laid off, and his need to make money to help support his family comes between he and Matt's (Christopher Springer) dream. Matt has his own issues as well, both with depression and with feeling like at 40, they're too old to make it in the business. The question is, now that they're on the verge of actually doing it, will they be able to?
When Jay's wife Jasmin (Pooja Kumar) suddenly announces she's pregnant again and becomes more and more irritable and unsupportive of Jay's dream, coupled with Jay getting laid off and Jasmin's family constantly belittleing his music and his musical ambitions, Jay has to face a choice between what he wants to do and what he has to do.
You can tell right away that the story in this film was well developed before it ever went into production. There's a feeling that each of the characters has a background story and various issues that they're dealing with because of the things that have happened to them in their lives.
The acting ranged from good to excellent, and while the whole cast were good, the two real stand-outs for me were Christopher Springer and Pooja Kumar. Christopher came off as kind of a slacker, but unlike most slackers, he really had a dream he was passionate about and was willing to do what it took to make it happen. He brought a likeability to the role as well as a feeling that he was someone you could actually be friends with. He was really great with Jay's kid too, which made him even more likeable.
Pooja Kumar was kind of a mixed bag as far as whether you like her or not. She was nice and she had been supportive of Jay's dream of becoming a musician, but as the film progressed, she became more and more of a bitch about it. Then she gets pregnant and starts hassling Jay about giving up his dream and taking a graphic design job with her brother in Washington D.C.. My first instinct was to say, "Jeez, what a bitch!" but then I thought about it and she did have a point. She was the sole supporter of the family, and now with her being pregnant and being the only one working, I can understand where she was coming from. This range of likeability in the character was handled really well and Pooja did a great job with the character. Her acting was really natural and heartfelt, even if her character was rather annoying at times.
The production quality of the film was really quite good with one small exception. There was a lot of original songs and music used in the film, but unfortunately, it was overused. There were scenes where it was appropriate and others where there should have been no music at all, where it only served as a distraction to the dialogue. As for the other technicals of the film, they were all there. The lighting was good, the editing moved the film along at a good pace, the visual quality was generally good and the sound was clear, although it could have been mixed in a bit louder at times to help with the clarity of the dialogue. There was one scene that I noticed in particular though that was an outdoor conversation where the edits had different traffic noise in each cut. That scene should have been dubbed in post or recorded with a more directional microphone in order to limit or eliminate that, but it wasn't a huge issue by any means.
This film actually somewhat mirrors my life in a way. I'm a musician pushing 40 with a friend who I want to work with musically who has a family and commitments that necessitated him moving away for a while to earn money to help get them out of debt, which put any musical ambitions we had on hold until he can move back. So for me, this film actually kind of hit home in a way that it won't for most people. Still, it's a film that can be appreciated by anyone who's had a dream and had to give it up because of the other responsibilities life threw in their path.
All in all, this is a quality production with a good story, good characters, and some great acting. The film is currently playing at various film festivals, so if you can find it at one near you, be sure to check it out.
If you'd like to find out more about this film, you can check out the film's website at http://www.drawingchalkpictures.com.
Friday, January 01, 2010 @ 20:11:19 Mountain Standard Time Film Reviews |