Movies Are My Wife

Married to the Movies — Mdino's Blog

APRIL SHOWERS (2009) @indieflix

When it rains it pours, and in April 1999 it rained hard at Jefferson High School.  The fictional stand in for Colorado’s Columbine High and the infamous tragedy that befell its students, faculty and their families is the subject, with a few alterations, of APRIL SHOWERS (2009) by Andrew  Robinson.  Because the scenes surrounding the massacre have such a fierce intensity (and they accost us almost from the beginning of the film) it is easy to praise the picture almost without taking a breath.  But when we do come up for air, we make some observations that color our interpretation of the viewing experience. 

There  are some sound problems, particularly in scenes taking place in a kitchen and on a middle class home’s staircase.  Sound, of course, is the bane of the low-budget filmmaker’s existence but Robinson and his crew do well with their resources overall.  Another problem with the film is an over ripe quality to some of the more melodramatic sequences.  There is the moment in a convenience store  where one student, plagued by guilt over his actions the day of the shooting, almost wigs out in a paranoid breakdown.  It is to say the least, a bit much.  Still other scenes, such as the same student’s suicide, seem terribly contrived.  Nevertheless, it is obvious that this is a pretty good film. 

This version of events, as told by director-writer Robinson, an actual Columbine survivor, focuses mainly on the relationship between Sean (Kelly Blatz) and April (Ellen Woglom).  It is Sean’s realization that April is one of those killed in the attack that provides most of the drama, and some scenes have a surreal quality for which Robinson deserves kudos.  Ironically, in a film with a few sound problems, the use of sound elsewhere is exemplary.  In the frantic moments after the assault, Robinson and his sound designer Craig Polding, have the sounds fade in and out, creating a touch reminiscent of the boxing scenes from RAGING BULL (1980).  It is as though the characters are losing contact with the outside world.  Near the end of the film is another fine touch – this time a visual one.  Sean leaves the church following April’s funeral, photographed in long shot.  The cars are frozen in the middle of the street as if they have all been abandoned-a superb visual metaphor for Sean’s world coming to a stand still. 

The performances are just adequate, but Tom Arnold in a small roll as a beloved teacher, makes a moving impression.  Aaron Platt’s cinematography is at its best capturing images such as the sunset behind the crosses erected in memory of the dead, and elsewhere creates lasting memories. 

APRIL SHOWERS has been given the deluxe distribution treatment by indieflix, meaning it is not only available on the company’s website, but also can be found in video stores and other outlets and has been distributed to theatres.

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December 26, 2009 - Posted by | film directors, independent film, indieflix, screenwriters | , , , , , , ,

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