Share (2019) Jul 30, 2019 10:20:58 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jul 30, 2019 10:20:58 GMT -5
Directed by: Pippa Bianco
Directed by: Pippa Bianco
Pippa Bianco's Share was adapted from a fifteen minute short and it really shows. This is a poorly written picture about a very real, contemporary problem that makes the victim out to be guilty until proven innocent. From the jump, it becomes more entranced in the mystery of the situation as opposed to the emotional consequences, distilling them down to aimless close-ups of our protagonist's face that serve to act as a replacement for substance. By the time we reach the ending, it operates like it should be the start of the climax. Instead, the credits appear and it all feels empty.
Bianco's short was screened at South by Southwest in 2015 and released on the internet the following year. Starring Taissa Farmiga, it was a captivating, nuanced look at the ramifications through the eyes of the victim. Farmiga is replaced by Rhianne Barreto (Hanna) in the feature, playing Mandy, a 16-year-old who wakes up on the grass after a night of heavy drinking and hard partying with various peers. With her memory of the night before being foggy, she goes about her day nursing her hangover until a video showing her lying unconscious on the floor with her pants pulled down by several guys begins circulating online.
Mandy is mortified, and as a result, becomes more introverted at school. When you're young, you go about life thinking there are no tangible consequences to a night of drinking and domestic debauchery amongst classmates, for there really shouldn't be. But when the video causes Mandy to be kicked off the basketball team — when other players were at the same party, just not caught in such an incriminating position — her parents, Mickey (J. C. Mackenzie) and Kerri (Poorna Jagannathan), get involved and bring the issue to a lawyer to find out who filmed the incident and proceeded to spread the video. Mandy, too, finds solace in Dylan (Charlie Plummer from last year's emotional Lean on Pete), who tries to be a friend in times of great crisis.
Bianco's strongest move is making Mickey and Kerri a refreshingly understanding pair of parents, for the most part. Initially, Mickey can't understand why his daughter would drink herself to the point of blacking out, inadvertently becoming defenseless if such an act like this were to occur, but he comes around in a strong scene when the two are alone in the car. "Who gives a s***?," he responds when Mandy is crying and confessing that she drank too much that night and likes to party. Mickey knows well enough that someone, regardless of age, drinking copious amounts of alcohol still isn't a reasonable justification for them being assault. Because there is no justification whatsoever. Mandy's mother is also in a great scene where she responds to her husband's immediate misunderstanding of the situation by saying that he doesn't realize things like this happen to people nearly every minute of every day. Both are tender moments in a film that mostly feels hollowed out.
A big part of this is due to Bianco's fixation with the mystery of what happened that night as opposed to the emotional trauma and subsequent headache Mandy has to deal with; one that lasts much longer than any hangover. Her entire reputation has changed, her parents are contemplating pulling her out of school, and the fog of her "one night out" is something she can't shake. At a certain point, when a police investigation into the handful of boys is beginning to prove fruitless, all she wants is closure on the night, which will hopefully allow her to move forward. Yet even when Bianco gets more fascinated with the mystery, her and editor Shelby Siegel have a terrible habit of cutting off nearly any scene with dialog too early. Scenes such as Mickey getting into an argument with one of the boys' fathers at a hardware store and the family's conversation with a lawyer are abruptly stopped just when a mid-scene climax is reached, such leaving the film appearing lobotomized in post-production. When it comes time to trying to solve the mystery, the film too shows it's just as shaky as when it's trying to zero in on Mandy's mindset.
Bianco and cinematographer Ava Berkofsky create cool compositions and color palettes together, but such as the case with Hannah Fidell's A Teacher, this comes across as a substitute for substance; a band-aid on a project that was meant to be a medium, 40-minute short at most. Share/ focuses on a real problem many people need to worry about, especially younger people, many of whom are no strangers to long nights they won't remember with so-called friends they'll never forget. The urgency for the topic to be kept in the mainstream is there, as is the potential for films of this nature to be captivating. Share might've been acceptable fare several years ago, maybe even deemed "groundbreaking." But post-#MeToo, it feels far too slight.
Starring: Rhianne Barreto, Charlie Plummer, J. C. Mackenzie, and Poorna Jagannathan. Directed by: Pippa Bianco.