The things people do for art. The sneaky, nasty, snake-like things people will do. Believe it or not, with those few short words, I've essentially summed up "Close Caption" to the letter, and I'm by no means saying that's a bad thing. Sometimes keeping a story simple is definitely the way to go when it comes to making movies, but as luck would have it? The central premise of Jaron Lockridge's flick may be pretty straightforward, but the path leading to the goal is most definitely not. A lot is going on here, and I'd be more than happy to give you, reader, a brief rundown of the basics - not everything, however, because spoilers are never good.
Jack Holiday is the very definition of a has-been film director. That is if you want to be liberal with the term "has-been." Jack's celebrity comes from a string of B-Movies he's made in the past, and his bread and butter had come from DVD sales and the like. With the DVD market drying up and his last few movies being complete flops, Jack is not only completely broke but also has some nasty past investors looking to take their losses out of his hide. To make matters worse? Jack's wife is ready to leave him because, frankly, he's of no more use to her. With his world ending and the threats on his life anything but a Hollywood film, Jack is presented an opportunity that, for better or worse, he's damned well going to take.
"Close Caption" is essentially a heist/running from the mob kind of film that uses Jack's bizarre situation to fuel the next steps towards his escalating downfall. One wrong decision or action leads to the next, all while compounding the previous problem. By the end of the film, Jack has seemingly everyone on his tail, from L.A. thugs to local loansharks to even the police force. It's all one crazy mess that, admittedly, is rather fun to watch. The influence from a few beloved movies is quite apparent and only adds to the adventure. So how do things turn out for Jack? You'll simply have to watch the film to find out.
From a technical standpoint, "Close Caption" is a low-budget independent film that may have many hallmarks you're expecting from such a production - but is also remarkably polished. You won't mistake this film for a new Marvel movie but probably won't bat an eye if something goes slightly out of focus or some of the ADR doesn't quite sync up. For me, there were two things that could have been addressed - that stood out. The first was that the film started to feel a little long by the end. A few scenes felt like they were extended a little much or entirely not needed, but honestly? The slight drag wasn't ever so bad I wanted to take a break. What I did notice, however, was the lack of any real conclusion. Well, maybe that's not quite right; what I mean to say is that nothing was accomplished in the film. There is no message, no conclusion, no moral. Nobody was better off when this film ended, and perhaps, things were actually worse for the players. The scam(s) didn't pay off, but they also didn't cause any actual harm. There were no consequences at all - except maybe for the only honest character in the film, Jack's neighbor - who essentially got screwed every wich way. I can dig a movie where the good guys don't win, but in this case, it seemed like nobody did.
When it's all said and done, I can't deny I liked this movie - a lot. Despite its unusual quirks, "Close Caption" was a surprisingly entertaining movie. Hell, even most of the acting felt right and tight from my point of view. Jaron Lockridge and his troupe have something that might not appeal to everyone - but most of us will find something to enjoy here. If you're looking for an example of low-budget done well - look no further—three and a half stars.