Relationships are tough at the best of times. The uncertainty. The chemistry. The thought of what it would be like to spend your entire life with one person. You may love them... but do you love them that much? Then there's the BANG! factor. Knowing in your heart that eventually, the sexual spark will diminish - and wondering if what's left is enough? And what happens if your partner doesn't quite have the same amount of love as you do? Sure. They can love you - but do they love you enough for a lifetime? Relationships are hard - and it always seems to be those levels of transition, that truly make us think of the future. Say for example... that moment in a relationship when your partner asks you to move in? It's a milestone event, and one that truly can have consequences. This is where Clair J Harris's film "Zelos" starts it's story - just slightly after that relationship milestone.
Sarah has just returned from a vacation. A vacation she partook in, to think about her relationship with Bernard. He has just asked her to move in you see, and Sarah apparently, is very conflicted about the direction things are taking. Bernard is a trusting, loving man, and agrees to give her the space she needs. It's here this film really starts, when Sarah returns and confesses an affair when she was out of country. An affair she now wishes never happened - and that Bernard would forgive her for.
It's the setup for a complicated film. A situational drama that many of us can relate with. Most of us have done things we regret - and most of us have to deal with the aftermath. Sometimes an experience such as this can end up bringing a couple closer. Or, that old phrase about the one that got away applies. "Zelos" focuses on universal themes. Love. Hate. Forgiveness and betrayal. Can this couple cope and deal with past mistakes? That's the question right?
As far as indie, micro budget productions go - "Zelos" has a lot going for it. Visually, it doesn't look like a low budget film at all. The cinematography, the lighting, and even the edit itself have a slicker, more polished look than the vast majority of indie films I've watched recently. Jo-Anne Brechin, who directed, evidently had little difficulty conveying her vision to the crew - as well as to the cast themselves. Speaking of the cast...
... "Zelos" is one of those rare indie movies, where even the supporting actors give some excellent performances. Ben Mortley and Shannon Ashlyn, as our leading couple, manage to actually convey their struggling counter-parts in exactly the way I/you would imagine them to be - given the situation. Angry. Guilty. Lethargic and even hopeful at times. The entire array of expected emotions are present and accounted for - maybe even a few you haven't considered. The bottom line when it comes to this entire troupe of actors is this. Excellent, believable work. What more can be said?
So what about the not so stellar aspects of the film? The truth is that there really isn't any smoking gun. I did feel the film was slightly long - but that may just stem from the fact "Zelos" isn't my preferred genre. I could also mention that the movie seemed to have a lot of music playing it's way through the background. Again, I noticed it - but someone else may love the seemingly constant backing tracks. Like I said... there's no smoking gun here. I thought the movie was pretty decent - I just didn't think it was spectacular. What more can be said?
When you create a movie, you don't generally aim to please everyone. You worry about what you think - and hope for the best. "Zelos" is a good film. I had no problem watching to the end, and completely believe a lot of people are going to love this movie - much more than I did. Let me leave you with this. This genre really isn't on my list of preferred film styles... and yet I still managed to enjoy it. That ladies and gents, says volumes.