BWW Review: Sedona International Film Festival Presents IN THIS GRAY PLACE
THIS GRAY PLACE, written and directed by R. D. Womack II, unreels in a very different form than the standard by-the-book cops-and-robbers standoffs. In a situation where the perpetrator of a pawn shop robbery gone afoul and barricaded in a dingy men's room could otherwise be summarily despatched (it really would be that easy!), this movie defies convention (and sometimes logic) on behalf of a morally ambiguous but oddly romantic and relatable plot.
The weight of this film rests on the compelling profile of Aaron Foster, a desperate and tortured man on a mission, portrayed with woeful intensity by Aleksander Ristic. Miro Kepinski's haunting and melancholic background music gives added solemnity to Aaron's predicament.
Aaron's dank and disgusting refuge, notable for its seemingly useless metallic fixtures (sink, radiator, toilet, and lights) is impregnable only as long as he is able to consummate one phone call after another to his beloved Laura (Angela Nordeng) and friend/accomplices.
Contrary to his best interests and the urging of negotiator Lt. Koch (the voice of Pulp Fiction's Phil LaMarr), Aaron is adamant about staying put until he can be assured that Laura will be taken care of. The challenge is how to get "the rocks" to her.
It is here where this reviewer must resist spoilers, save to say that there is reason to Aaron's madness and deadly actions to be reconciled.
The feel of Womack's drama is elevated by the cinematography of Naeem Seirafi ~ the alternation of bucolic scenes of romantic moments past with the grayness of Aaron's solitary confinement.
As the heat rises in Aaron's cell and reaches its boiling point, one may be reminded of a question uttered by Laura at the film's beginning: "How did you come to be in this gray place?" Indeed, how do any of us come to find ourselves in "gray places?"
The film is one of the features at this year's Sedona International Film Festival.
Photo credit to Womack Film Works
Sedona International Film Festival ~ https://sedonafilmfestival.com/ ~ 928-282-1177
Saturday, February 23rd through Sunday, March 3rd
Purchase passes at https://sedonafilmfestival.org/purchase-passes/
Multiple venues: Mary D. Fisher Theatre, 2030 W. Highway 89A; Harkins Theatres, 2081 W. Highway 89A; Sedona Performing Arts Center, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road