4 April 2017 | gregmachlin-21143
The first George Saunders adaptation: Phenomenal
George Saunders is the gloriously surreal author of CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and In Persuasion Nation and his novels and stories have been optioned since the late 1990s, but the short film "What If" (based on Saunders' story "Victory Lap") is, as far as I know, the first adaptation of his work to actually make it to the big screen...and it's fantastic. Writer/director Lorielle Mallue takes a narration-heavy story that goes deep into the minds of three very different characters, two teenagers and an adult, and masterfully presents all of them.
It's hard to give details without spoiling the story, but it takes a very important event in the lives of 3 characters on a seemingly ordinary day in a normal suburban neighborhood.
There are many ways this short film could've gone wrong; suffice to say Mallue has clearly seen Edgar Wright's fast-cut work and has both a great sense of comedic timing and knows how to build tension, and, along with D.P. John Wakayama Carey, creates images that perfectly fit.
The four main actors--Gabrielle Fleck as Allison Pope, Wesley Zurick as Kyle Boot, Michael Mastro as The Man and Vince Gatton, doing the best narration since Alec Baldwin in The Royal Tenenbaums--are spot-on.
Go out of your way to see "What If...?". (Note: Goes without saying, but I have no connection to anyone who made it.)