16 March 2019 | juanramon-44874
First Feature...With a Voice.
There's those slice of life films that normally keep things unapologetically grounded and dramatic to really drive a point home. There's no denying how immediately captivating they are, regardless of whether or not the final product is ultimately rewarding. And then there are films like People With Issues. A unique slice-of-life example that presents itself to the audience with a really quirky style and voice that hopes to engage the audience in a much more different way.
People With Issues starts at a casual party. Here we meet our main characters Jack, Aaron and Darren (Tanner Kalina, Adam Mengesha, and Dano Colon, respectively). Everything immediately turns awkward as we witness key pieces of their past that involves fumbles in their artistic ambitions, lack of confidence, and rocky relationships.
People With Issues delivers on its title. A film that carries multiple personal issues and shows them with a somewhat light-hearted, quirky style. Some of it is reminiscent to Woody Allen's work. Like one of our characters experiencing a brief bout of hypochondria, much like in Hannah and Her Sisters. It keeps the characters and scenes engaging, supplying a couple of good chuckles and laughs here and there.
Now, the movie isn't straightforward in its storytelling. We jump through past and present multiple times, and an instance where we see our leads have a small group therapy session in black and white. It takes some getting used to, so it's best to just take each scene as they go. What is consistent is it's voice. It's very clear what the voice is, that you can hear it in every character, but it sometimes makes them too similar to each other that you can't really feel or differentiate their respective attitudes to each other or the issues at hand.
Nonetheless, it's interesting to see just how the film plays out. I can't stress enough just how loud this voice is. Co-written and directed by Dan Siegelstein, this being his debut feature, it doesn't take long to locate the origin of said voice. And that voice works. The characters are used as megaphones, so to speak, carrying bantering dialogue and awkward attitudes that would obviously come out of those weird little moments that we all experience. Cause most films today-or even independent films, for that matter-rarely feel comfortable approaching those moments by being quirkily uncomfortable through its entire run time.
The cast own their performances and dialogue, making everything funny, if not amusing. And even if its storytelling is unconventional, you can let the movie play and still be able to see a moment where you say, "oh yeah. I've been there." Like most features made by first-time independent filmmakers, it does carry its first-time filmmaking flaws, but it's nice to know that it proudly carries a unique voice and attitude that radiates through every scene. This is the kind of slice-of-life film that tells us "just sit back, relax. You've got issues? Well, buddy, let me tell you what I think about 'em."