FILM INFO: An overweight man meets a former classmate on their high school track. As the two grow close and inspire each other, their pasts creep back into their lives and begin to threaten all that they have developed.
WRITTEN BY: Chad Diez DIRECTED BY: Chad Diez GENRE: Drama, Comedy
A life lived. Mistakes, accomplishments, goals and emotion. All these things make us the person we are on this day, and the one we'll become in the future; for better or worse. At first glance, "Laps" feels like it should be an uplifting showcase of what we can do if we set our mind accordingly. Take our leading man Nathan as an example: Overweight and looking for something in life that just isn't there. Bad choices have seemingly broken this man and on so many levels, and most of us can relate. Bad choices are how we learn and grow, they inspire us to do better and motivate us to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. The person one becomes is generally based from who they've been. The good and the bad. Using this premise as the backdrop for a film is such a good idea... that it's been done countless times before. However, having a clichéd plot doesn't make a film a bad one. Generally, if presented correctly, the familiar setting can actually enhance the viewer experience. We all know how this story goes and we all love to root for the underdog. This is the heart of many a famous film. "Laps" however, stuffs the hopes of many of us down it's figurative throat, like a greasy burger, adding unwanted pounds to a long winded production. Luckily for us there's plenty of good to help keep the weight down, just not enough to lose it completely. Writer and director Chad Diez manages to pen a story that should be a call to action, but instead forces us to realize how flawed most of us are. This "could" be a great thing, with "Laps" however, it just feels wrong and hits way to close to home. A film like this should make you feel good at the end, and this one just makes you question. I suppose, any film that makes you feel anything is a good one. The simple fact is that myself, as a viewer, wanted our character to learn something from his mistakes. Not repeat them over and over, seemingly getting worse each time. Even during the final scenes, featuring a powerful performance from Art Hall, left me shaking my head wondering why? If our character feels so badly... why do it again? If I had any major problem with this film, it's that it took the tried and true formula and kicked it to the curb. In it's place was a film that actually goes nowhere, teaches nothing, and leaves us feeling as though we've wasted our time. The real kicker? It almost comes across as if our lead has actually gotten worse by the end. Any inspiration received from Nathan's ability to physically turn his life around was lost. Overshadowed by his lies and manipulations. Things could have been different... but they weren't. Watching "Laps" from a technical standpoint was a bit trying at times. Maybe, on a computer screen, things would have been a little better but for me, on my living room television, it was hard at times a hard watch. Simply put, the image looked like it had a frame rate problem for a large portion of the film. Trails, and a "skippy" kind of look presented itself from the very start. As much as I tried to ignore it, and simply enjoy the film... it was very difficult. Aside from the visual distraction, I have very little else to say. Mostly decent dialog recordings and mixes, all pieced together well enough. The film felt a little episodic, but that may have been intentional. Where "Laps" does shine is with the cast themselves. Art Hall and Rachae Thomas do wonderful jobs in their respective roles, with all the supporting cast following suite. These characters feel real, like people you may know from down the street. The good and the bad personality traits shine through clearly, making these characters come across like real people. Excellent job ladies and gents. All around. The end result is an indie film that seems to shy away from it's good elements on purpose. People are people... are people right? We can all agree that mistakes are human, yet showcasing these mistakes, and allowing your characters to learn absolutely nothing just feels tedious. An exercise teaching what not to do, that could have been shown in fifteen minutes. For all my complaining, "Laps" is not a complete wash. There are some truly great scenes played out by some talented people. It's a solidly average film, and for an indie low/no budget production that says volumes. It simply falls apart when it should be coming together, it tries to turn the cliché around and be original, with mixed results. The few laughs scattered through the film help, but in the end, it just could have been so much more. -MC