So, after all that….why is it that these Independent/Small Budget films have become such a focus? I have found three main reasons: deeper stories, REAL acting, and simply superior filmmaking. Now again, don’t get me wrong…..I am not saying that all the Big Budget event films, those Summer “popcorn” films, the wonderful Disney, Pixar, and Illumination Studios animated films are for naught, as I LOVE all of those as well. But, bear with me, as here is what I AM saying….
Deeper Stories: The films mentioned in Part 2, for me, held something that I actually didn’t expect nor realize that I was missing in watching the bigger films….deeper and more meaningful (albeit, sometimes gritty) stories that were SO….human….sometimes even to a point of being able to directly relate to certain aspects of what was being portrayed. You feel like you’re watching something that could actually be occurring somewhere in the country or world right NOW…giving the whole experience of the story unfolding a greater sense of realism. And that draws me into the whole event in a much more profound way, again on that human level, that I don’t necessarily feel when watching films that are more overtly reliant on CGI visuals and explosions (while fun, NOT really deep). Sometimes, the story themes of Independent/ films tend to be a little more edgy and dark, perhaps even addressing subjects that are a bit hard to swallow (ie: the Danish film “The Hunt“, starring “Casino Royale’s” Mads Mikkelsen or “Return” with “ER’s” Linda Cardellini and “Man of Steel’s” Michael Shannon), but I feel those are not that way “just because they can be” or even because they are trying to be gratuitous with anything content-wise or message-wise in so much as again, they are often just showing us what life can be like and perhaps even IS like, in reality, even if we don’t want to admit it or face it. And I guess I just find that rawness at times, dare I say, refreshing…not glorying in it, but taking it in for that real, in your face feeling that comes with these tales.
REAL Acting: Ok..No one come after me because I am making it sound like all the actors and actresses in any of the aforementioned big studio films aren’t acting…of course they are, and doing a VERY entertaining job of it. I mean, we all love Martin Freeman as Bilbo from “The Hobbit 1 & 2” films, or Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Robert Downey, Jr. as Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man (plus the rest) from “The Avengers“, as well as the lovable animated characters like Gru and his Minions from “Despicable Me 1 & 2“. But…..as entertaining as these characters are, I have found that the ones brought to vivid life in Independent films have actually trumped those over-the-top ones as a whole. And that is the way it SHOULD be, though. These smaller films have to COMPLETELY RELY on the actors bringing the characters to life in a way that gives them the depth that is needed to carry a real-world feeling story. There ultimately won’t be the CGI wizardry and bombast to take some of the focus OFF of the characters. Now, these actors and actresses REALLY get to ACT, and the skills displayed in the characters portrayed in ANY of the films highlighted in Part 2, for me, was a revelation of how truly talented they are, even when so many I have seen in other, bigger, films before. They really TAKE you to where their characters are at to a degree I cannot say overall I always get from bigger movies. Again, I often feel like these are people I could actually run into or meet were I in the towns the stories are taking place in….again…very human characters…real in all the emotions that are displayed. And if that actor/actress can create a character that grabs you and REALLY causes you to experience inside everything they are, even when it is the most subdued (or most intense, emotionally or otherwise) performance you’ve seen them do….THAT to me is the sign of an amazing actor/actress. Independent films allow this kind of attachment to rise up, and it is another refreshing thing to hold on to in appreciating the talents you witness on screen.
Superior Filmmaking: To top it all off, these are just plain awesome in their overall execution. The writing, the cinematography….even when it all seems so SIMPLE…..it is profound. What these directors (whether known or unknown to me) do with these films has continued to surprise me time and time again, and all it does is make me really appreciate the actual ART of making these pictures. When you sit back and think about all it took to get what, on the surface, could seem to be so “easy” to put together compared to a $100 million blockbuster, you realize that THESE are the examples of what is possible in making a movie, and making it WELL.
So….the budgets may be small, the directors might not be as well known as Spielberg, the actors may be a little more subtle than the blockbusters they are often associated with, and sadly, a LOT of people will never know about much less SEE so many of these films in the theater due to their limited releases….but all I know is that Independent/Small Budget films are a genre I know REALLY look for, anticipate, and hope come to my local theater, as it is a great way to appreciate on a whole new level the process that is great acting, story-telling, and filmmaking. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little 3-Part expose and that I didn’t ramble or repeat TOO much….like I said from the beginning, I am just a film fan exploring a new way to communicate my perspective on a medium I have a passion for.
Until next time, this, as always, is for YOUR consideration, comment, and opinion. Peace!