And just like that, lives are forever changed. Friendships destroyed and futures uncertain. Now ask yourself if I'm writing about the start of a story or the ending? It could be either - right? A downright sad-ish ending or a hopeful beginning? It kind of sounds like real life - or some form of reality television. Life is messy to say the least. Sometimes it makes no sense and sometimes, there is no sense to make. This devilish way of looking at things is the cornerstone of Mitch McLeod's film. "Arc: A Love Story" has no true lines drawn in the sand. Things happen and emotions take over. Friend becomes just a nonsense word or barrier to be crossed. When it comes to love or even infatuation - is friend even a real term? Perhaps long time party buddy would be better suited? Whatever helps you sleep better at night right? It's here that the heart of "Arc: A Love Story" lives. The choices and decisions we make, and how we justify them. Knowing something is not proper doesn't make things any easier. When the heart speaks it speaks. You either listen and take a chance - or ignore and possibly regret. Forever. Yet even if we listen to the call of love or infatuation, does that make it right? Does it guarantee anything? Anything at all. Is there always a happy ending if you take a risk? That's something you, the viewer will have to ponder on your own time - especially after watching this indie film.
Essentially, "Arc: A Love Story" revolves around a love triangle. That may be the simple version, but true none the less. We also have friends and friendships - expectations, betrayal and romance. But to sum up the plot? Love triangle fits. And... a lot of partying. Bars. Chilling at home. Poker, drugs and booze. A lot of fun times are being had here. Fun and awkward. I feel the film was meant to zero in on a cheating wife with a friend - and it does. Yet the main plot still plays second fiddle. Not always a bad thing, but with this film you really have to invest the time for the payoff. And that's a bit of the problem.
The pacing of this film is a little off. Had I only given the movie a half hour or so before deciding on how to proceed, I probably would have shut it off. Well... maybe not me personally, but the average viewer just might. Forty five minutes in, maybe even a full hour... and it's still a hit or miss production. However, once fully invested in the movie, it becomes well worth the time. "Arc: A Love Story" is easily above average - you just have to get there to realize it. That means putting in the time. Something I'm just not sure the casual viewer will do.
And what's even more unusual is that I can't put my finger on why. The acting in this movie is actually really damn good in spots. Can't fault that. The audio, much to my surprise since it's a low budget film, is also pretty decent. The visuals felt a little blown out, a lot of the time, but nothing major and definitely not a deal breaker. So what is it about this film that stops it from being truly splendid? I wish I knew. It could be the pacing, as I wrote above. It could also be all the filler. The partying and such. There are times when "Arc: A Love Story" feels more like a video diary than a movie. Other than that - I really have no definitive answer.
At the end of the day it's the majority of the acting that pulls this film through. The final act also helps quite a bit. For anyone willing to give the movie a chance, I'm sure they'll agree this is easily worth the time. My concern is the casual viewer simply won't let it go that far. So, to anyone reading this, I have one message. Give it a chance. Once you do that, "Arc: A Love Story" may not be the next Oscar winner, but it is definitely worth checking out. A solid three out of five.