Thursday, April 25, 2013

Talking Tribeca: The River

I’ve had the pleasure of screening some feature-length and short selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 17th-28th.

The River
Directed by Sam Handel
Festival Screenings

This 13-minute short finds pregnant Maria (Lauren Ambrose) working the counter at a small-town market on a hot summer day. She responds in a seemingly bewildered manner when her manager Phil (Jay O. Sanders) tells her to stop listening to a self-help tape while checking out customers. Through impatience and outright cruelty, Maria struggles to make it to the river so that she can cool off. In just thirteen minutes, this film manages to work in a few fun cameos, including Ambrose’s “Six Feet Under” costar Michael C. Hall as the voice on the self-help tape and Adam Driver from “Girls” as the liquor store cashier fully aware that Maria is purchasing alcohol for the teenager who has been waiting outside all day trying to get adults to buy him beer. Ambrose and Sanders are both great, though neither of them is, purposely, terribly sympathetic. It’s entertaining nonetheless to watch Maria walk all over people to get the ultimate reward she believes she deserves. With obstacles rather than twists, this simple comedy is easy to like, and makes for a perfectly pleasant viewing. This short is showing as part of the Skin Deep program.

See it or skip it? Sure, if you like Ambrose and some of the other cast members. It’s harmless enough.

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