Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Not A Review: Fling
I cannot review FLING. Well, I don’t think I can, going by the guidelines for critics that Roger Ebert laid down a while back. Granted, I did not technically have anything to do with the film. However, Ben Waters, the co-editor, is my brother, while director and co-writer/producer John Stewart Muller is a longtime friend of his and also someone I know fairly well. I had a free pass to the film’s Midwest premiere, met the crew and some of the cast, etc. So you see the problem. (It can be argued that I am not really a professional critic, but I try to assume the semblance of one at times.)
Here’s what I think I can do. I can say that I, personally, enjoyed it. I can’t say why, or give the kind of formal support to my thesis that a proper review does. Also, bear in mind that I’d had a few drinks and may, theoretically, have been favorably disposed to begin with. I’ve only seen it the one time so I have no idea how it looks when one is sober. So, what I’m going to do after the cut is describe the film in the most neutral terms possible. No judgement calls whatsoever. What I describe may be enough for you to make up your mind, but I will not push the issue one way or the other. Okay, here goes.
FLING is the story of a couple, Mason (Steve Sandvoss), a novelist, and Sam (Courtney Ford), a budding fashion designer. They’re both in their twenties and living together, but have an open relationship; the film starts at a wedding wherein Mason meets up with Olivia (Shoshana Bush), an 18-year-old girl who knew him when she was much younger, while Sam hooks up with old boyfriend James (Brandon Routh.) James is somewhat old fashioned, and skeptical of the strength of Sam and Mason’s relationship; at the same time he’s never quite gotten over her, and the two start drifting closer together, even as she’s turned off by his disdain for the way she lives. Meanwhile, Mason has some good and bad times with Olivia, and tension between him and Sam mounts as they wonder whether they can keep this going.
A lot of people have sex in this film, as you might imagine, but the presentation is restrained; there’s no nudity and the sex scenes tend to fade out early. (The film has yet to be rated.) It’s not really the subject of the film the way you would expect, though the characters are obviously leading very sexually active lifestyles. (Quick question: Can you actually put qualifiers on “sexually active”? It seems to be used as a binary.)
The reason this had a Kansas City premiere (though it’s had premieres elsewhere and has done a few festivals, and I actually meant to ask about wider distribution but forgot) is that it was almost entirely shot here. Those who know the city will recognize many locations and it’s getting more coverage than usual because this doesn’t happen very often. The upside of this is that filming in KC is still fairly cheap, so they were able to shoot at some fairly prominent and upscale places. Needless to say, I was in Columbia when this took place and had the opportunity to witness none of it. Such is my life.
The camera-work is hand held, though not hugely jumpy. Note that the IMDB still lists this under “Lie to Me”, though that title was changed because it’s being used for a TV series on FOX coming up this midseason.
And I’ve run out of things to say. Obviously since people I know are involved with this film AND it’s their first big thing I would hope that many of you see this movie, or at least keep an eye out. So I’ll just leave it at that. I liked FLING a lot, but I’m biased.
Further information on where it is and will be is available on the movie's website.
Written by John Stewart Muller & Laura Boersma
Directed by John Stewart Muller