Prairie Love Review
story centers upon a strange unnamed
man (Jeremy Clark), who is traveling alone in the North Dakota prairie.
iciness and isolation surrounds him at every turn. He's been seen
with a sword, and he's driving an average vehicle and with few
is someone with a mission of some sort, or so it would seem, but we
to find out the exactness of this character's story before the entrance
point. What we do discover is that this
strange drifter listens to self-help tapes that are supposed to present
information about relationships. It's an interesting element
fact that there's no one around him and he seems to be highly isolated.
drifter feeling isolated himself?
can be easily described as one of the oddest independent films that has
up in the past year or so. It's a story that is so baffling and
seems to be the main element behind the entire film and its strange
creation. The film is the narrative
of writer/director Dusty Bias (1
Phone, 2 Phone, 3 Phone, 4),
who seems to have taken some of those offbeat ingredients from the
filmmaking written by the Coen brothers.
story takes a turn from the
journey of the loner when he stumbles upon a man who he lying in the
the frozen road-way he has been traveling. The drifter gets out of his
and checks on him to see if he is alive. He saves his life in this
the coldness of potential death that the young man faced. As the new
he takes a look at a number of belongings he finds with the man. He
series of letters that he wrote. Something interested him about them.
detail was that he had a pen-pal girlfriend. He actually hadn't met her
that... neither individual had
even seen a picture of the other person before. So this mysterious and
drifter takes the young man out of the picture (you'll have to see the
film for more details), and proceeds to journey to the prison where his
girl is residing before her soon-to-be release from prison.
rest of the film proceeds to be about
the relations between the drifter and the girl (Holly Lynn Ellis). The
goes off into even more bizarre territory and it's not exactly a
journey, but it's certainly one that is offbeat, unusual, and
surprising along the way.
Bias has attempted to make a
film that is quirky and delightful as a strange romantic film or
and his style is distinctive enough and fashionable in filmmaking
importance for any first time feature-length filmmaker but it is
doesn't entirely succeed along the path that he has taken as a writer
director as this story ventures into a considerably creative but
characters are not as
well-developed or explored as I would have liked to have seen and some
questions about these three lead characters are barely explored. It's
a viewer will have to consider for themselves as the story leaves many
unexplored. I wondered why the girl was in prison and you never find
in one creepy scene she's a helper to the drifter in a way that is
and may provide some sort of hint of her own mental state).
cinematography is stark and appropriate
for this film. However, there is something to be said about the
the cold environment and how the film has a low-fi indie vibe which
necessarily beneficial to the story. There are many moments where I
film dull, instead of fascinating in it's approach to exploring
Unlike How I Ended This Summer (a
Film Movement release and a brilliant film in its own right) this film
to explore some very similar conceptual ideas but it doesn't explore
effectively as it could have. Indeed, a short running time of around 80
is not nearly enough to explore these characters and having long
minimalistic design doesn't benefit the structure as much as I had
would initially. Prairie Love is a curious character-driven portrait
film but something about it seems unfinished (and unpolished) for it to
presented in it's original
aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The picture quality isn't all that impressive
colors are mostly dull. The image is severely lacking in pristine
some scenes have rather poor lighting that affects the vibe of the film
I feel as if it might be intentional on the part of the
the framing was an odd choice for the filmmaker to choose. It helps to
the stark emptiness of the environment but besides a few choice shots
of it doesn't benefit from a wider scope. Not enough is going on in
visually for it to be presented with this ratio.
audio isn't exactly exciting. Many scenes have some muffled audio where
isn't as easily discernible as I would have liked for it to be during
and the film doesn't really have any interesting elements to its sound
besides the score music (which does an effective job in unifying with
imagery). I wish there was more to this sound design. I found it rather
supplement is a short film entitled A
Family Portrait. It is from director Joseph Pierce. This animated
a disturbing and unconventional look at a family who is trying to take
portrait together but some strange occurrences and emotions from the
seem to be in opposition to their quest for a "happy" family portrait.
begins his picture-taking only when the negativity sparks.
film was visually creative but I can't really say it grabbed a hold of
something particularly interesting or enjoyable. I thought it was
emotionally it was not quite as involving or expansive as I would have
(even within its altogether short running time).
extras consist of a brief director's bio and trailers for other Film
is a quirky, bizarre, and unique invention of indie-filmmaking.
plot and characters are barely developed and the naturalism to the
in this film is not as effectively utilized as I would have liked for
it to be.
The film ultimately feels underdeveloped and unfinished as a product.
terrible by any means, but it doesn't reach its full potential.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.