Growing up. Those tender rebellious years when you're too old to be considered a child, but to young to be an adult. These are the years that make and shape future lives, that dictate the person someone will become. It's no wonder so many books and movies pull us into the proverbial coming of age story. "Turtle Island" goes a step further, and through flashbacks brought on by a speech from our leading lady, takes us well into adulthood as well as turning full circle. Orko Mukherjee has a lot to cram in for a film that only runs about an hour - yet the results are more than satisfying.
Basically, the spoiler-free version of this story follows Irene. A fearless young lady who resides with her guardian Andrea. Andrea is a Native American lady with a heart of gold. After a chance meeting with Brock, who seduces Irene, she takes to the roads and begins her adventure - if you want to call it that. "Turtle Island" deals with more than a few concepts a runaway girl might face, and keeping in mind that this film is not a comedy, I'm sure you get the idea when it comes to some of the grim scenarios here. But Mukherjee's film is about more than the devastating life of a runaway, it's also about coming home. Perhaps, this coming home aspect helps push this film past the mediocre point. But one thing is certain, this was an hour of time well spent. Of that, there is no question.
From a technical standpoint, things are not always perfect - but there's a lot to love about this film. Add to this, the fact this is Orko Mukherjee's first production, and there really is a lot of praise to go around. Although technically not quite told in a linear way, "Turtle Island" is anything but confusing, and for the most part just glides from start to finish. By no means am I saying there are not a few moments where the editing seems a little... awkward - just that for the most part, the actual edit of the film won't even enter into your mind.
The main cast, and surprisingly the supporting cast as well, all seem to hit their marks well enough. It's clear that everyone took this film seriously enough to not pull back any punches. With that said, there are a few instances where things may feel a little scripted of overplayed - yet this may not necessarily be a result of the performances, rather the audio/dialog itself. You see reader, from what I can tell, a lot - if not all - of this film has been overdubbed. Some of those awkward performances I mentioned may, in fact, be a result of the dub itself. The occasional syncing problem aside, there's just something in some of the dialog that I can't quite put my finger on, and that very reason could be why there's occasionally an awkward feeling delivery.
Other than that? The cinematography is pretty decent, as is the overall sound design and background scoring. If nothing else, "Turtle Island" feels one hell of a lot larger than it probably was. If Orko, or the cast or the crew are worried this film doesn't show well, they can all rest easy. From the looks of things, a lot of heart has gone into this production - and the payoff is a low budget film that is not only surprisingly presentable, but actually quite good. Not only do I recommend this movie to anyone who loves indie flicks, but I just recommend it in general to anyone who enjoys a good film. A solid three and a half stars. No question.