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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Mission
Mission
Vanguard // Unrated // July 8, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted August 9, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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Movie: Movies about writers tend to be under-appreciated, to say the least. This holds even more truthfully for independent movies of the same nature. In the case of a modest little movie called, Mission, this axiom of life will probably be even more true.

The movie takes a look at a young writer from New York City, Marvin (Chris Coburn), who struggles to get published but finds the industry too demanding of his limited talents. He moves to San Francisco to stay with his brother in the bohemian Mission District and makes friends with a slacker, Jay (Joshua Leonard), who shows him another side of life in the laid back community. Along the way, he meets a weird gal, Ima (Sandrine Holt), who takes his series of short stories, and leaves him high and dry. The two guys then spend the rest of the movie trying to deal with the twists their lives have handed them and making the best of adult responsibilities that society imposes on people.

Okay, for the most part, the movie was one of those "stream of consciousness" films that don't really have a plot. As such, its freed from the usual constraints of movies in how it can handle aspects of the protagonist's life. In that sense, the acting was a change of pace for me and the dialogue was solid for the limited nature of the material. If that sounds like a back-handed compliment, it is. Essentially, if you're someone in their mid 20's to late 30's, you may appreciate the transitional period of life Marvin (and, to a lesser extent, Jay) is going through during the film. Will he stay in the career stalling Mission or will he decide it's time to get on with life and move back to NYC? Will he hook up with Ima and then feel obligated to join the rest of society by giving up his many freedoms or will he follow the path of Jay and attempt to leech of the rest of the world with various cons and schemes?

If you're looking for a movie that allows you to plug your own answers into the mix, and take away from the movie what you want but little else, Mission may be just what you're looking for. It's a minor movie in many ways but Director/Writer?Producer Loren Marsh seemed to know all too well the pitfalls of this time in one's life and as such, his vision remains true, if a bit obscure at times. I'm suggesting it as a Rent It but others will likely think of it in somewhat more favorable terms (and I wouldn't suggest they'd be wrong).

Picture: The picture was presented in 2.35:1 ratio widescreen color. There was a fair amount of grain here and the sharpness wasn't all that great. The fleshtones weren't as accurate as I'd have liked either but the picture looked pretty good for a low budget, quickly made, independent film.

Sound: The audio was in stereo English with no subtitles. The vocals were generally clear and the score wasn't very involved but otherwise not bad.

Extras: none

Final Thoughts: It was worth watching one time for me but I think it may well appeal to those looking for something a bit different. Dealing with life's little changes is part of growing up and Mission's main theme seems to center around that more than anything else. Change can be good or bad (typically what you make of it) but watching this director's vision may help some of you sort out your own challenges.

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