Saturday, June 7, 2014

Claire: Movie Review

Themes of popularity and friendship are beautifully played up as Jack evolves and Claire remains dead.
Jack (Aidan Bristow) is the popular guy at school; the football quarterback. Claire (Jennifer Baute) is a nice, pretty, shy girl. A football injury leaves Jack in a cast and on crutches; soon thereafter, following a drunk-driving accident, Claire is dead. The problem as Jack sees it is that he didn’t know her, but everybody else seemed to. And he starts looking into Claire’s past and her death. 2013

Directed by: Dan Ast

Screenplay by: Dan Ast

Starring: Aidan Bristow, Cory Driscoll

The mystery element which the film plays up isn’t nearly as significant as I was hoping or expecting. Rather than a thriller, it’s more of a character drama, or a high school character drama, but it still works. Jack is a popular jock and he has popular jock friends and they are not the greatest people to follow around. Claire, on the converse, was into photography and arguably hid behind the camera. Her friends are similarly closed off. Jack’s one connection to Claire’s world is through his best friend Aiden (Cory Driscoll), who’s a photography geek instead of a football jock. Aiden keeps Jack at a distance, which unfortunately, doesn’t make him much better as a person than Jack and his obnoxious friends and girlfriends.

There are several themes at play in this film, all of which make it very interesting despite the lack of a real mystery. Intriguing concepts of popularity, friendship and what really matters in life keep the film moving. Jack starts the film off as the cool, popular guy, but when Claire’s death hits the school, everybody is mourning her because everybody knew her. Everybody but Jack, which leaves him on the outside. That drives his initial interest, but Claire seemed to like Jack, and that puts him back in the center. And this starts the major change in Jack. He becomes more aware of outsiders, but less aware of himself. What seems like a good thing for him on the surface, Jack’s lack of self-awareness takes him to the brink of sanity. The film did an excellent job slowly evolving Jack and then taking him as far as possible.

The circumstances of Claire’s death that Jack looks into ends up leading to a web of affairs – which guy is sleeping with which girl and who has treated who poorly. It is weaved into the plot of Jack and Claire’s death, so while not unnecessary, it does highlight the high school social drama of it all.

Some novice acting indicates how independent this film is; however, lead actor Aidan Bristow has very expressive eyes and capably leads the film. The mysterious Claire is seen in photographs and she has a beautiful screen presence so she thankfully grabs our attention as well as Jack’s.

As noted, the other main group of students are photographers. While the conflict between popular jocks vs. photography geeks (term is used affectionately) is downplayed, the contentious friendship between Jack and Aiden hints at the problems inherent in the high school social ladder. Also of note is the photography itself. The outside scenes are beautifully photographed as well as the still shots of Claire. Claire may be dead, but she does make an impact.
Best Lesser-known of 2014