FILM INFO: Two US Paratroopers agree to track down an injured German soldier after a failed American ambush. Their hunt leads them through the French countryside to a final standoff outside a timeworn farmhouse. It is here where the men learn that revenge comes at a price.
WRITTEN BY: Karl Ryan Erikson DIRECTED BY: Karl Ryan Erikson GENRE: Drama TIME: 9 minutes
There's a lot to like packed into this paltry nine minute short film. Movies involving that dark time known as WW2 are abundant. Very common even in the world of independent film. In order to get past that mediocre bump, or even to make the average mark, you need to have a very well done production. Something unique within the plot, or a higher standard of low budget production work. This story, the WW2 story, has been done to death with massive budgets, and attempted, killed and buried with no budgets at all. So how does "Addle Strife" hold up in this saturated field? Does it push back against the crowds already behind the lines? Yes it does. Quite well. The story is not the newest, although fresh enough to warrant the film being created at all. I would like to write that the "bread and butter" of Karl Ryan Erikson's film is the war itself... but I can't. That's the good thing here. Using the war as a simple prop, "Addle Strife" to me was more about the effects of stress on the fragile human mind. With this perspective, it's easy to understand why the WW2 backing really helped drive that point home. This isn't a blood and guts-athon. The setting and excellent props are nice to look at, but it's all just fodder for the cannon. What sets this title apart is the simplicity in story telling; yet keeping the ability to send you down the rabbit hole if you stop to really think about it. How much can we take when stressed? How responsible are we for our actions when under immense pressure? Then finally, summed up with a heart-breaking final look from one of our lead actors, how can we possibly deal with our actions. This was "Addle Strife" for me. A quick but fitting glimpse of cause, effect and of course... stress. The production aspects are where this title earns top marks. What a fantastic looking indie film. The cinematography was excellent, the coloring was excellent and even the dialog was clear and to the point. "Addle Strife" does not look independent. Even though the story wasn't one hundred percent unique, the perceived production value more than made up for it. I can also write that the small cast easily surpassed my low budget film expectations, in every way. They were totally believable in this gritty setting, and completely sold the film. My only small issue was with the pacing, or a better way to describe it would be to write that "Addle Strife" is a little long winded. Not by way of dialog, rather with the endless walking our characters do. This could easily have been cut to a seven or eight minute short film, removing the fat and creating a lean mean entertainment machine. The shots were all pretty darn beautiful, just completely not needed. I found the space from the opening segment, to the climax ended up relaxing me. The attempt to build up the film, with these nice shots, ended up doing the exact opposite. Everyone wants to make the longest running film they can, but sometimes some hard choices should be made. This wasn't an issue that warrants a massive write-up, as it seems I'm doing, just something to chew on for a little. You should also consider that the film is so short in general, this really isn't a problem. A little really can go a long way, especially when the "little" looks and plays like this film. Karl Ryan Erikson, and his cast and crew continue to help pave the golden path for the indie film world: Low budget film does not need to look cheap. "Addle Strife" is further proof of that. A well rounded narrative, combined with being an excellent production visually, help propel this short flick well past the average mark. One to check out when it becomes available. -MC