12 February 2002 | prjacoby
This is a film rich in good intentions, but they are so Hallmark-cleansed that much of the real tension is gone. The right people and pieces are there in the right order -- right down to the third cow in the barn -- but what was missing was truth, honesty. It is a suitable "feel good" picture if it doesn't take too much to make you feel good.
Another thing: "Sandy Bottom Orchestra" suffers from is what almost all pictures suffer from these days: the sound FX and music are mixed way in front of the voice tracks. That might work for "Terminator" (and I'm not sure it does), but good grief, "Sandy Bottom" is a narration and dialogue picture! Why is the VOX mixed so far back, and therefore hard to discriminate?
One more thing... I find great irony that a touchy-feely picture about a small town in Minnesota (tightly knit and very American, you know) was shot in Canada.
On the other hand, the DP should be congratulated on great lighting, especially for the exterior shots. "Magic time" was used a lot and very well. It gave most of the exteriors a very lush look without reverting to oversaturation during the timing and transfer process. Good job!