On her deathbed, founder and manager of the band Dust Nuggets, KK, takes us on a journey of sights and sounds as she recounts her path from childhood, to her final destination. But is the story she's telling the real deal? Or does the truth lay just south of what she's recounting? This is the review of the feature, independent film, "Dust Nuggets."
If ever I was to start a band, "Dust Nuggets" would be an awesome name - and like many cool handles, leading lady KK finds her inspiration is the most unlikely of places. A railing to be exact, all while she's attempting to book her newly formed band. Labelled an alternative fusion hybrid, in the same scene, we've already been witness to this rag-tag group's humble beginnings, as well as KK's eventual, potential last moments. The band, its story, and KK's story are all presented as a progressively stranger trip down the proverbial rabbit hole. From her childhood onward - and as "Dust Nuggets" plays on towards the credits, we're slowly introduced to what has happened, or, what has possibly happened, and what will happen. This is an excellently layered film that at times feels like a cross between a Miley Cyrus video and "The Twilight Zone." Throw in a dash of comedy and you end up with "Dust Nuggets." I'd be lying if I wrote the actual concept wasn't extremely entertaining - but there are some issues that I'll get into below. My overall thoughts? "Dust Nuggets" is a good movie that starts off a little wonky, and somewhere during act two, switches over - becoming a really good film. A little crazy? Hell yes, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
For those not interested in my technical, boring, opinions on this production - skip down to the last section of this review, for the wrap-up and my final thoughts. First and foremost, I really enjoyed this film. As written above, the plot was interesting, but never got overly confusing - and the performances themselves were pretty darn good. It's always refreshing when a micro-budget project contains strong performances from its cast, a credit to them themselves, and the director for coaxing out some great portrayals. The acting, in this case, was a little crazy when called for, and dramatic when needed. The writing, directing, and acting pulled this film well past the mediocre mark - what more can I say?
Now, about the edit... If I were to guess, I would say that "Dust Nuggets" was pieced together by someone who has a definite knack for editing, but is maybe a little close to the production itself... and perhaps a little green. The feeling that they are close to the project comes from certain edits that were present, but probably shouldn't have been. Bits that didn't add anything to the story, or had already been established. I did mark an example at around the twenty eight minute mark - it goes a little like this. The band, and KK, get out of the car for their gig. We then cut to them in the hallway, followed by the next scene. The truth is that the second cut to the hallway felt awkward and was completely unneeded. Simply cutting to the next scene, from their conversation when outside the building, would have flowed nicely. As they say, if it has been done or not needed, don't add it. "Dust Nuggets" had more than a few situations similar to this - especially during act one and into act two.
The other editing aspect that kept bringing me out of the film, a little, were the transitions... more to the point, the wipes. This form of transition comes across as very comic book-ish - or Windows Movie Maker-ish. I can only think of one group of movies that actually use them frequently, and that's the "Star Wars" films. The reason they use them is because it's a stylistic choice that was created during the franchise's inception... to add a comic book flare. Honestly, for the most part, wipes feel strange and awkward and in this film, especially during act one, they really stood out. I can't say for sure if they were less frequent during the second half of the film, or if I just noticed them less. For the record, the average viewer probably won't really notice any of what I wrote above - or simply not care.
At the end of the day, minor technical aspects aside, "Dust Nuggets" did the trick and kept me watching from start to finish. There's no getting around the interesting story - and oftentimes over the top characters. But this film also has the ability to switch from funny, to dramatic at the drop of a pin - and that really keeps the ebb and flow... well... flowing along nicely. There's also a certain strange charm to this film I can't quite put my finger on - would I recommend? Yes reader, yes I would. "Dust Nuggets" is a solid flick that earns every single one of its stars. In my humble opinion.