Dir: Megan Griffiths
Starring: Amy Seimetz, Tony Doupé, Ross Partridge
The Off Hours is a really good film, a great example of successful Independent filmmaking. The story itself is nothing new, however its success as a film lays within the way this story is told.
The film is set around a small town diner, where waitress Francine (Amy Seimestz) works night shifts. The diner is struggling, and life seems to be at a stand still for Francine. She gets her kicks by sleeping with her foster brothers friends and seems to have no real motivation in life. That is until she meets truck driver Oliver (Ross Partridge) who seems to bring new life into her. Side stories include others at the diner, and they kind of mirror the slow life of Francine’s in their own way.
What impressed me most about the film was just how beautifully it was shot, as well as scored. Despite a lot of the film taking place at night, it was lit wonderfully and a job well done by cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke. The lonely and slow life was really represented well in the film, I began to feel what Francine felt and it made the experience and empathetic one. Once Oliver begins to really come into the picture, the spirit is lifted and as Francine begins to find some hope so do we. She is our investment, as much as I would like to say the other characters were too, they just did not have quite the same development and I found myself not really caring either way. A tragic event does strike well within the film but the character it affects just did not have any real investment with me and it was something that seemed to pause the film. While it was wonderfully written I think more care could have been taken with the others to really have immersed me.
The performances however are all really strong and everyone seemed perfected suited to their role. Amy Seimetz really impressed me with her performance in A Horrible Way To Die and she was also impressive here. There is just something about her that drew me in; she has a wonderful screen presence. Her performance was not an easy one but she fully embodied Francine every step of the way. Ross Partridge was charming, and it was easy to fall for him. His performance was well layered and he kept an aura of mystery around him. I rather liked Tony Doupe as Stu, his performance was great but his character just did not click with me as it was intended to. Scoot McNairy was good; he especially came out on his own towards the end. I honestly did not think much of Gergana Mellin, her character was not really fleshed out and while she did okay I felt as though she struggled the most.
Megan Griffiths has done a wonderful job as director as well as writer. The film is visually stunning with a great soundtrack. As I said the story isn’t original but the way that it is told makes it seem fresh. It is very deserving of its accolades and a film that I highly recommend.
The Australian DVD:
The DVD I reviewed was a screener, so I am unable to comment on Picture/Audio quality.
DVD details here.
Thanks to Bill (Gryphon Entertainment) care of The Analogue Titles for the copy.