BESIDE STILL WATERS - On DemandNovember 20, 2014

BESIDE STILL WATERS - On Demand

BESIDE STILL WATERS (Tribeca Film)

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: BESIDE STILL WATERS (Tribeca Film).

A group of childhood friends reunite after one member of the circle experiences the sudden death of his parents in a car accident in the indie film BESIDE STILL WATERS. It’s Daniel (Ryan Eggold, THE BLACKLIST) who’s lost his folks and the gang meets at his family lake house one last time before all is packed up and the house is sold. This is a location filled with nostalgia for everyone, and now it’s simmering with the intense need for mourning, and plenty of guilt as none of Daniel’s friends made it to the funeral.

 

BESIDE STILL WATERS (Tribeca Film)



THE BIG CHILL will certainly come to mind as you watch this film: old friends together again in a remote location, recent death in the air, past relationships rekindled. The kinds of conflicts you’d expect from such a scenario are on display early. Daniel’s ex-girlfriend Olivia (Britt Lower) arrives with a new fiance in tow, played by Reid Scott (VEEP). Martin and Abby are the married couple who have seen their passions cool, although Martin hopes this weekend can turn up the heat. Some of the pack have become successful, like reality TV star James (Brett Dalton, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.). Other are struggling, like Tom (Beck Bennett, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE) who was fired by his Dad just before the trip.

Overall the film succeeds in stirring up wistful longing for days gone by, like any sentimental story of this kind should. It does fall into some stereotypical traps, though. For example, a musical montage of the hilarious, drunken fun everyone is having during their first night in the house. One segment built around a drinking game named Whiskey Slaps is the comedic highlight of the film. If you can’t guess what a Whiskey Slap is, you’ll pick it up quickly once you see the concept in action.

Despite some of its emotional missteps, the film does hit a few notes exactly right. During a one conversation a character offers the cliche, “All’s fair in love and war” to which Tom questions, “What do we know about love and war?” A poignant commentary on this privledged pack. Director Chris Lowell also created a device wherein we see Danilel’s stream of consciousness memories in a quick series of black and white images. It’s the best choice from a craft/chatacter perspective in the film, and it continues to add dimension to Daniel through the picture.

 

BESIDE STILL WATERS (Tribeca Film)

I did get to thinking about all of the complicated relationships in our lives after watching BESIDE STILL WATERS. There are the romances of friends we can’t seem to understand, although it apparently works for them. There are the old friends living new lives. We can still recognize them somewhere behind who they’ve become. There are the ex-lovers who linger in our thoughts even after we’ve made peace with the end of that chapter of our story.

Perhaps most importantly, I thought about the complicated relationship between us and our own memories. We shouldn’t let them go. They remind us who we are. But, if we hold on to them too tightly, they might become all that we are. Change and growth must come. The filmmakers seem to know that. They remind us in a subtle way late in the film to keep creating new memories.

In other words...

 

...I think the film encourages us to live.

 

 

TRY IY

 

Joe Charnitski

 

Joe Charnitski
Joe Charnitski is a new contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. His career in film and television production, development and marketing has included stops at Miramax Films, Syfy and VH1. He currently works at a entertainment focused social media marketing agency in New York City. Twitter:@JoeCharnitski

 

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