We all have them. Defining moments in our lives. Those times we either push forward or give up, in both the literal and figurative senses. At some point in most of our lives things get tough. Unbearable even. I like to think of these times as character building experiences - but for some they simply exist to crush and degrade. We've been groomed to not talk about the less than stellar ones, and when telling stories, only the positive defining moments make the grade - even though they are usually much less interesting.
"Potential Inertia" recognizes this as it follows our lead Declan, through one of those rough patches. Starting with him debating the finer points of jumping off a bridge, we're invited to witness how he got to that point. Writer, director Matt Croyle takes us back a step, before pulling tight the rubber band to the present and beyond. This is the story of a young man being slowly chipped away at. The story of someone approaching the end of their rope - despite any good things mixed within the bad. But mostly it's a story that in theory, can be instantly recognized by the vast majority. An aspect I'm sure Matt Croyle was hoping for when writing this film.
How does it all end? I'm not going to spoil the details for you but in truth? It doesn't even matter. "Potential Inertia" is all about the journey, not the destination. The real question is if Croyle was able to make me even care about what happens to his protagonist? The answer to this is tricky... as I'll get into below.
The first thing I noticed was the choice of color. Or lack of. I'm not going to lie. When I see black and white I instantly think the creator is trying to hide something. Broadly speaking, maybe trying to downplay sub-par visuals. Or, I see it as some kind of gimmick - and that never works unless you have something cool to add to it. As a rule of thumb, in this day and age, black and white just screams low budget. Originally, there was no choice. Black and white was a technical limitation... not the case now.
With that said, the lack of color did bring with it a sense of depression. A blurry, out of focus feeling that could be read as a direct visual reference to our main character. Whatever the case, I'll leave the viewers to decide - but will add this. Not using color as a visual emotion would have been much more effective, if at the end some color were added.
Other than that, we have the typical no budget hallmarks, that pop into play throughout the film. Audio that doesn't really gel, or at times, even sync up. Some awkward edits here and there - and just generally what you expect from this type of film. All of this was easily dismissed by myself - this is an indie site after all - so let me get to the meat and potatoes of the production. The acting.
Sometimes it's hard to get a read on the character portrayals, when a good chunk feels overdubbed. Perhaps the actions and expressions are spot on... yet the overdubbed audio sounds weak. Sometimes it's the opposite. With "Potential Inertia" the vast majority of the acting is decent enough - and there's a lot of it. This is a very dialog heavy film. But what about the actual characters? Honestly? Declan comes across as a little needy and hard to feel compassion for. At times. I really think this feeling was created in the writing and not the acting but whatever the case, there were very few times I connected with him. More than a few times I shook my head at the whiny nature of his character. By no means am I writing this was a constant... just that it was noticed. The jist of what Croyle and Matthew King, who played Declan, were attempting to convey was present. Just not always.
At the end of the day, despite what I wrote above, "Potential Inertia" was still a decent flick. Hands and feet above a lot of other productions I've seen - even the ones that had a bit of money backing them. Declan's story wasn't lost in the shuffle, and Matt Croyle directed a competent film - splashed with some excellent dramatic scenes. Had those excellent parts been present through the entire film... well reader... that's another story. As it stands right now, I had no problem getting through to the credits. This may not have been the perfect film... but doesn't claim to be. A solid two and a half out of five.