Saturday, May 21, 2011

Counting Backwards: Movie Review


Valiant efforts but the viewer isn't rewarded with much of anything.

For a film about the journey of its main character, it didn’t do a good job of introducing us to Joe. Taking the usually-good approach that less says more, I may appreciate that, but it doesn’t work here. He quit his job, but I don’t know why. His doctor gave him bad news, but what exactly I don’t know.   2007 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Aprill Winney

Screenplay by: Ryan Tavlin

Starring: Benjamin Montague

It’s a film where they take the light approach to dying. You know, turn death into a romantic comedy. Kind of sounds intriguing, but it’s not very romantic and it’s not very funny. There’s a scene which is supposed to be hilarious where Joe is talking on a cell phone while the cop is writing him a ticket for talking on his cell phone while driving. It’s not a big enough film for that to work.

Benjamin Montague, who plays Joe, has this great natural ability to be the awkward, but lovable, underdog. Unfortunately, he has no chemistry with his romantic co-star and I don’t really care if Joe discovers that his life is worth fighting for or not. Ironically, the novel that Joe is writing, mostly in his head, sounds like it’s very well written, but the great turns-of-phrase didn’t translate into the film.

“Counting Backwards” tried a lot of things that I appreciate in films with their minimal scenes and turning dark subject matter into comedy and romance, but the results just aren’t there.

Recommended:

Remember Me (2010) - A romantic drama with the perfect emotions for love, death and family.

The Notebook (2004) - A sweeping, emotional romantic drama with completely captivating characters.