Memory Lane (WildEye Releasing, NR)

Memory Lane_75Memory Lane keeps you guessing, and it only runs 70 minutes so the anticipation holds through the entire movie.

Memory Lane_500

Memory Lane tells the story of Nick Boxer (Michael Allen), a young, seemingly easy-going all-American guy, who returns home from war to find that his fiancé Kayla (Meg Barrick) has committed suicide. After attempting to take his own life and being brought back by friends Elliot (Julian Curi) and Ben (Zac Snyder), Nick learns that the proximity to death allows him to re-live moments with Kayla. Things unravel as Nick decides to repeatedly stop his heart and come back to life in an effort to prove that Kayla’s death was a murder rather than a suicide.

The story is not great, but I do like the way it is told. Toward the end, I feel the big reveal is anticlimactic—however, this feeling did not ruin the film for me because I did enjoy the journey. Memory Lane keeps you guessing, and it only runs 70 minutes so the anticipation holds through the entire movie. Even if you happen to predict an outcome before it is revealed to you, there is still something to see—more character depth, new interesting back story. There is not a single wasted scene in this film.

I recommend this movie to anyone interested in the realm of filmmaking—this includes actors as well as directors and writers—solely for the director’s commentary. I have watched many successful Hollywood films with the directors’ and actors’ commentary, and they often tell fun stories from set or discuss how they would have liked to shoot a scene differently here and there, but Memory Lane’s commentary goes far beyond that. Shawn Holmes, who serves as the film’s director, co-writer, cinematographer, and audio engineer, gives viewers an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes on a film set from start to finish. Holmes discusses creating the film on an almost non-existent budget, as well as how he learned to become an editor and sound engineer with no prior experience. Holmes also discusses some directorial techniques in achieving specific desired performances from his actors.

Memory Lane features some seriously underrated actors. Many of them have only performed in one or two small independent films, but they delivered some really strong performances in this film, particularly Michael Allen and Meg Barrick. (A few early screen tests from before the film was cast are also included on the bonus features of this DVD.)

There are a few moments where it is obvious that Memory Lane was made on a low budget, such as inconsistent lighting in a couple of scenes and lack of effects, however, these moments are minimal and likely unnoticeable unless you are accustomed to checking for small inconsistencies in films.

I think some of the choices Holmes had to make with this film due to his budget, such as filming at his mother’s house or not being able to hire a full film crew, make the film much more real. There is a clear intimacy between the cast that was likely created from their lack of time and lack of having trailers to go off to in between takes. In addition, although Holmes had to take on the challenge of being writer, director, and cinematographer, he was able to fully execute his vision without having to compromise with others’ opinions.

Memory Lane is a solid film. It’s not a breakout Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s very good. It’s beautifully shot, contains above-average acting, and really is the product of a story that the entire cast and crew poured their whole heart and soul into.

Other bonus features on this DVD include deleted scenes, trailers, and promotional videos for other short films the crew is working on. | Samantha LaBat

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