James D. Froio
James D. Froio
A day in the life off, "Insert name here" movies are hit and miss at the best of times. It's true that "Salt City" occurs over a longer stretch of time, but essentially it's the same concept. In this film, our leading character Kid is roaming the streets in search of Vincenza; a woman he knew and dated many years ago. So he says. Kid has finally come home and simply wants to reconnect - and In theory, it's all a sound concept for a film. Maybe you could question the perceived age of Kid during the film, and how old he may have been so many years earlier when he met Vincenza, but who reads so deeply into indie film? Right?
As "Salt City" progresses, it essentially becomes the "Mister Roger's Neighborhood" of low-budget movies - because James D. Froio's film is all about the people that you meet when you're walking down the street. But who needs anything more than a vague concept when you have so many crazy characters to draw from? Don't get me wrong, I had some good, fun moments watching this film - at times it's genuinely funny thanks to the huge helping of crazy characters. As a character, Kid himself is amusing enough to carry some of the weight of this movie. But the shred of actual story "Salt City" grasps soon becomes lost because of the actual length of the film itself. "Salt City" is two hours long, and the lack of a solid foundation makes it feel much, much longer. It took me two sittings to get through this movie and the truth is this... had Froio decided to make some extensive cuts; leaving only the best stuff in, "Salt City" could have been an excellent road-trip adventure film. No question.
So, obviously, I think "Salt City" is much too long, probably by about an hour. By the time Shaggy was overdosing, I was starting to have trouble focusing. That was just under the hour mark if I remember correctly. But the other main issue I had, which also comes back to the length, is that so much of this film is absolutely not needed at all. Filler. Entire chapters could be cut with no hit to the story at all. As the old saying goes, if it doesn't push the story forward or has already been done, cut it out. Do you really need dozens of background scenery shots? No. Do you want to keep every single thing in... that you worked so hard to film? Make a director's cut. Let the viewer decide if they want to see all the extra footage.
The other thing I was/am on the fence about is Froio's decision to use some kind of rotoscope effect over the entire movie. It kind of made "Salt City" feel like a music video, especially during the extended montage sequences throughout. I believe this film was meant to demonstrate how pointless life is sometimes, and on some level, it even worked. I just fear that the casual viewer won't give "Salt City" the chance to show them some of the better aspects of the movie.
So, there you have it. I can't deny that I laughed a few times, I won't deny that some of the characters in the film actually did the trick, and raised "Salt City" enough to be what I consider an alright film. It's just so damn long but more importantly, there's just so much unneeded filler. I should also point out that Kid reminded me of Bubbles from the "Trailer Park Boys" and that alone is worth a smile. But at the end of the day, it will take a real indie film buff to truly appreciate this film in its entirety - for the casual viewer, it simply may be too low-budget for their tastes. Two stars.