Some movies are so thought-provoking that you feel like a completely different person after seeing them. And The Living is one of those movies. Now, I don’t know whether they wanted it to come off as such, but nonetheless, it did. This intense indie slow-burner is exploring not just the main theme of small-town crime but also life in general. Those of us who have that great opportunity to live in the cities and villages close to the big cities mostly see rural parts of _(insert name of your country) only for a few days a year (at best). Towns and villages are usually dominated by big shopping malls and small, barely functioning stores.
Everyone is either fleeing to bigger cities or deciding to stay and resenting those who left plus themselves. Another big problem is education that completes this vicious circle. Completely forgotten by the powers to be, rural is an ongoing crime and the blame doesn’t lie with the people who never had a chance, but those who govern and lead those communities. This is the effect that The Living has on you, although this is a small story, you cannot miss the big picture that’s staring at you the whole time.
Hi, his name is Teddy and he’s an alcoholic. He’s also married to his beautiful wife Molly and two of them live together in a small town somewhere in rural America. One morning, Teddy wakes up with a hangover, discovering marks on his knuckles and mess around the house. This can mean only one thing, he beat up his wife, once again. Her brother Gordon and mother Angela want him gone, with Gordon leaning towards a more permanent solution…
This is what happens when you do your characters right, the story writes itself. It feels as natural as beer and weed. The story unravels at a bit of a slower pace, but this doesn’t mean the movie is boring. Mostly because Jack Bryan, who directed this fine movie, managed to work wonders with scenes. Lingering shots with just the right duration create a sense of unease and desire to somehow influence the story from your couch. But, this is real life and this is how it would play out. The entire vibe of this movie reminds me of William Friedkin’s Killer Joe.
Deep, dark, and brooding, The Living is one of the few good indie movies that came out this year. I can’t wait to see what Jack Bryan has lined up for us next, and not only him but also Fran, beautiful Jocelin, and Kenny who were magnificent in their roles. Actually, you can check out Jocelin in another great indie slow-burner, The House of the Devil. Enjoy.
Director: Jack Bryan
Writer: Jack Bryan
Cast: Fran Kranz, Jocelin Donahue, Kenny Wormald, Chris Mulkey, Joelle Carter, NiCole Robinson