Bradford N Smith
If it's not needed, has already been shown, or doesn't move the story forward - don't put it in. Above all else, these are the take away things, both Philip Brocklehurst and Bradford Smith should take away from this write-up. Being a reviewer for an indie, low budget film site, I am at times a little generous with my ratings. I find no shame in that - because at the end of the day? Creating a film with little or no money is tough. Really tough. It's also the only way to gain the experience needed to create bigger and better things. There are no shortcuts when it comes to experience and honestly? "I Am The Wanderer" demonstrates just that.
The biggest problem with this flick is the length - but more to the point? The exact same story and feeling could have been accomplished in around ten minutes. I'm a little ashamed of myself, because it took me three separate sittings to get through this film. I love indie film and am completely used to a less than perfect production. But here, there's only so long looking at a man against a tree can hold my attention. Even if it's sprinkled with some roadside bits and some interior car shots and stairs. There's no real dialog, save the occasional line from a woman, that is near almost the same sentence every time. Also, there's only so long I can look at a sad looking man without any other real context. In case you're wondering? I've essentially summed up this entire forty minute film.
What's the actual plot? It's difficult to sum up because I'm not totally sure I get it - but we have our depressed man. Detached from the world with almost nobody, save his sad self and all the people who won't give him a ride. There is a woman who appears, but even her situation is skewed. It's hinted she was a girlfriend. It's also hinted maybe the man screwed up the relationship. Then again... it's hinted that maybe she screwed up the relationship - or both of them. Most of the actual plot between the two is introduced in the final act, crazily using a skull and mask with some narration. Yet everything is contradictory. That itself isn't totally the problem, considering this movie feels more like something to reflect on. But the fact it takes thirty five minutes of what feels like the same shot, to get there? That's a tough sell.
The technicalities of this production are also a slight problem, but could have been forgiven. In today's world, you have nine and ten year old kids asking their parents for a tripod. So their YouTube videos look better. "I Am The Wanderer" looks like nobody even bothered. It feels all hand-held, and hastily recorded. But more to the point? Considering most shots are a man against a tree, or by a road... almost anything could have been used to steady the shots. Rest the camera or phone on a rock. A bench. A branch. A curious squirrel. Anything! Maybe not every shot could have been done this way, but a good chunk could have been.
But again we're back to my original gripe. The length. Why was this film so long? There is probably a good thirty minutes of essentially the same shot. You could probably have actually used the same shot over and over again, and ended up with the same effect. I can only assume the filmmakers wanted to make a film that was long. Simply to say - hey! We made a forty minute movie! Sometimes however, shorter is better. When in doubt just read my opening statement. The truth is this. Had "I Am The Wanderer" been ten to fifteen minutes of choice edits, It probably would have been a great reflection piece. To sum things up? I have seen a lot worse - and have seen a lot worse from filmmakers with actual money to spend. This film simply needed to be edited down properly. I have no problem saying that the average viewer will probably never get through this one. Film buffs drawn to this particular style... maybe.