Photo by Sue Suchyta
The Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak on Thursday displays the name of Allen Park screenwriter and cinematographer Dan Jones’ most recent independent film, “Griffey’s Choice,” which was filmed almost entirely in Allen Park.
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
Have you ever left a movie emotionally drained? Ever been so drawn into a book that you begin to absorb its positive or negative energy?
“Griffey’s Theory,” a story within a movie, has that impact on its protagonist and potentially on its audience.
Dorothy, an introspective young woman who lives alone, enters the winter holiday period with an oddly compelling fictional psychological story of human survivors of an unknown event that decimated much of the population.
There aren’t any monsters, fighting machines, blood or rubble – we merely see shell-shocked and confused human survivors in black and white as the reader learns of their fate. Her life, meanwhile, is portrayed in muted yet cozy Christmas colors.
We aren’t given many details about the monochromatic characters, except that they seem to have survived an unknown cause of death. Because, however, they have no media access, they don’t know what is happening to the world or to them, or when and where they might die.
Dorothy becomes obsessed with the book and so focused on the isolation of the characters that she herself becomes more alone.
By the time Dorothy sinks into a depression, we hope the stranger trying to enter her house will rescue her, and not attack her like the fear in her mind suggests.
Dan Jones’ story is an interesting premise, but the hour and a half run time drags. Modern audiences are accustomed to tight editing and fast-moving plots – we don’t want to wait for a character’s slow descent into madness. What would be risky enough on the stage is too plodding for the silver screen.
And while the stationary cinematography shots are fine, the shots from a moving camera tend to make one feel dizzy when they occur – it is like trying to watch homemade movies shot from a bouncing handheld camcorder.
Granted, Jones made a remarkable movie on a very limited budget. However, I’m sure I’m not the only one who got dizzy at times and restless after a while.
Jones has a strong imagination and work ethnic and the intelligence and drive to make unique and original movies. One hopes his future films will share his vision with tighter editing and stronger production values.