Friday, April 7, 2017

Donald Cried

Creating an small independent movie centered around two generally unlikable characters presents some problems. In Donald Cried, Peter Latang (Jesse Wakeman) returns to his the home town he's avoided like the plague for more than two decades to deal with the the recent death of his grandmother. With no other family in sight, and having lost his wallet somewhere along the journey, Peter is forced to enlist the help of his old friend Donald (Kris Avedisian). Hoping to squeeze some cash and a ride to the funeral home from Donald, Peter is quickly guilted into spending the entire day with the odd man.

A glimpse into Donald's sad life only exacerbates the situation and makes it harder for Peter to extricate himself from the clingy Donald, even after leaning that for the past few years Donald had been masquerading as Peter at his grandmother's retirement home.

The strength of Avedisian's film, who wrote, directed, and saved the choicest part for himself, is we can see all these situations playing out in real life. Donald is a quirky loner, but knows how to use that to his advantage.

If events feel real, they aren't always that interesting. This is where having two characters, neither all that interesting or likable, begins to wear on you (even over the course of the movie's relatively short running time). The film doesn't break new ground. I'm not sure if either Peter or David is helped or hurt by their reunion in the long run, and there's no big takeaway, catharsis, or moral to the story. This leaves Donald Cried as really only a series of moments that are forced to work, or not, all on their own. At times it works, but just as often I found David more annoying than Peter did, who (despite the hell Donald puts him through, which is at least partially intentionally) sticks things out far longer than any sane person would be expected to.

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