Sunday, May 25, 2014

Movie with Abe: Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Directed by Sam Fleischner
Released May 23, 2014

The New York City subway is an interesting place, to say the least. The diversity of people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and cultures who traffic through the many lines in each borough is astounding, and riding even just for a few minutes can present multiple memorable moments. When taken in by someone with autism, it can be even more mesmerizing and confusing. That’s the premise of “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors,” the new film that follows a thirteen-year-old autistic boy named Ricky as he rides the subway for days on end while his family worries about his whereabouts and whether something terrible has happened.

The film begins with Ricky (Jesus Sanchez-Velez) walking home from school with his sister Carla (Azul Zorrilla). It is clear that Carla does her best to be a good sibling to Ricky, but that his nature causes her frequent frustrations which occasionally lead to outbursts (which he also has periodically). Their mother Mariana (Andrea Suarez Paz) is a hard-working parent who seeks to ensure that both her children have bright futures and opportunities, and who receives little support from her husband, who is away on a job upstate and less than present, and not just physically.

Ricky’s curiosity gets the best of him after a difficult phone call with his mother, and he follows someone into the subway. What ensues is an aimless tour of the many lines and the people along the way. While Ricky is often near suspicious or threatening people, there is never a sense that he is in any true danger. When a stranger offers him a banana, nothing happens, and even when he is alone on a train or a platform at an odd hour, he is immune to those forces which could do him harm.

Seeing the city through the lens of its twenty-four-hour life is certainly intriguing, yet it doesn’t achieve the impact that it should. The timing of Halloween makes it so that people wear costumes and look even more outlandish than usual, an unnecessary device considering how crazy New York can be all on its own. Additionally, everything that occurs outside of the subway – featuring Ricky’s distraught family – is lackluster and rather dull. It all culminates in a less than satisfying ending which makes its events seem relatively pointless. It is a clever and thought-provoking concept, but one whose execution leaves plenty to be desired.


No comments: