Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Whelm Review: A Cinematic Experience That Overstays Its Welcome

Francesca Anderson	...	Edie Delil Baran	Delil Baran	...	Alexander Aleksy Ronan Colfer	Ronan Colfer	...	August Jacob Eaton	Jacob Eaton	...	Alden Brooks Dylan Grunn	Dylan Grunn	...	Reed Mark Hoover	Mark Hoover	...	Jonas Jeff Lawson	Jeff Lawson	...	Gang member Natalie Lawson	Natalie Lawson	...	Dancer Al Schumacher	Al Schumacher	...	Gang member Grant Schumacher	Grant Schumacher	...	Jimmy Brandie Thomas	Brandie Thomas	...	Dancer Josh Unger	Josh Unger	...	Gang member Lindy Unger	Lindy Unger	...	Mackley

Release date: August, 13, 2021
Running time: 116 minutes
Written and Directed By: Skyler Lawson
Francesca Anderson, Delil BaranRonan ColferJacob EatonDylan Grunn

WHELM is a mind-bending odyssey of two estranged brothers who get tangled in a rivalry between a legendary bank robber and an eccentric at the height of the Great Depression before finding they are a part of a larger historic scheme. Shot on 16mm film on location in Indiana.

Whelm is a tough movie to judge.  It does so much right and really does feel like a much more impressive film than its indie roots would let you believe.  It is a cinematic experience that feels like it has a much larger budget due to its absolutely gorgeous cinematography and music.  The shot choice and locations are wonderful and truly do give a more cinematic experience.  Whelm is shot on 16mm film, and this makes for a beautiful film, and also lets the natural beauty and light of the sets shine through.  The film also has some very interesting characters to meet along the way.  They are a little confusing to follow as the film shrouds them in mystery, but they definitely feel like well realized characters.  And each have multiple motivations and mysterious backgrounds that will keep you guessing about them throughout the film.

And on top of the fantastic cinematography, the film has a wonderful soundtrack as well.  It has driving strings that really keep the epic feel of the film front and center.  And the music also helps to evoke the period of the movie, with a classic feel for this 1930s setting.  But Whelm often feels like more style over substance.  That isn't to say that the substance isn't there, as there is clearly a deep story here, but it wasn't presented in a way that let me follow along.  I often felt confused at what was happening and it was tough the keep the characters and the storyline in sync.  The film has a slightly out of order storytelling and jumps in time periods a few times, so I sometimes didn't know who or what I was watching.  And despite this out of order storytelling, the story itself was very slow.  The film felt like a cinematic experience, just one that overstayed its welcome.  There is definitely an amazing movie in here, I just didn't stay motivated enough to follow it through.

Whelm is a cinematic experience, with amazing cinematography and driving music that belies its indie nature, but the slow and confusing story makes this film feel like style over substance.

Rent it.

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Whelm is available digitally and on demand on August 13, 2021.  

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