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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

SIFF Sighting: THE OFF HOURS (Drama; USA)

It seems there is always one film at the festival each year that has me debating whether to walk out or not. This year, that film was The Off Hours.

Set in a small town near Seattle, the main character Francine (Amy Seimetz), is directionless, unintelligent, loose and broke.

The men in her life are her roommate/former foster brother, a truck driver who visits the diner where she works, the boss at the diner (always sitting in a chair or coming out of the kitchen to tell people to get to work) and one female colleague who doesn't serve much of a purpose. Yeah, that about covers it.

It's one of those films that has you counting the 'independent' tags throughout instead of focusing on the (sad) script. Late night diner featuring old, half-full, glass coffee pot? Check! Depressed town with no hope of recovery? Check! Woman trying to 'find' herself? Check! Alcoholic, deadbeat Dad? Check!

The dismal part is that the main actress in this film can truly act. Though I cared nothing for Francine or her supporting cast of lifelong losers, I really did believe her, and that's a credit to Amy Seimetz, who brought her to life. I hope she continues on and gets a part in something more matched to her talent.

Unfortunately many will mistake this pretension for art, and that unfortunately, it is not.


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