Static

Static ★★★★★

In 1985 the most unassuming and equally under rated film was marginally released to an unsuspecting public, “Static”.  Directed by first timer Mark Romanek (despite his denial) this film struggled to see the light of distribution and exhibition.  For the few who managed to see it, the experience was life changing.  The story is centered around Ernest Blick (Keith Gordon) a would be inventor who having lost his parents in a car crash, is secretly working on an invention that will make the world a better place.  An invention that will make people happy.  Enter back into his life Julia Purcell (Amanda Plummer) in a bonafide Oscar worthy performance as his once upon a time love interest for whom he still carries the torch.  Conflicts arise with another young lady, a mutual friend, but this is only hinted at so that we might discern how tight knit life in a small town is.  On Christmas Eve Ernie hosts friends into his apartment to reveal his invention.  A television and antenna that displays a “live” image of Heaven.  The reactions from both cast and audience are conflicted and intriguing to say the least.  We are called to defend and uphold that which we believe without seeing by one who believes as a result of what he is seeing.  The third act of the film is the powerhouse denouement that hits like a cannonball.  The film is so expertly written and scribed to the screen that we, the audience, feel to be a living part of it.  The dialogue is that natural.  It is here that Amanda Plummer does her best work.  Her expressions are priceless, conveying without dialogue what we the audience can only feel as we reel backwards from the emotional gut punch the film gives us.  It is profound!  One can literally feel kinetic energy emanating from the screen.  Quirky characters abound in this film yet strangely they all fit and are all endearing.  They make a lasting impact, each and everyone, right down to the man asleep on the Road Runner bus.  I found this film astounding on my first viewing and it remains as such on my most recent.  It is a world populated with strange characters that you are captivated by and want to know more about.  It is life itself.  What we truly believe, what we profess to believe and ultimately left to question what we actually know about what we claim to believe.  There is so much static in our lives that despite our faith we can’t really be sure.  This is one film you should see before you transition to the next life.  Romanek, with co-producer and lead actor Keith Gordon, have stumbled upon the answer to one of life’s greatest questions and were perhaps too distracted to realize it. (Possibly symbolic of the “Static” in their lives at that time.)  This is epic independent American film making at its finest.  See it only if you question the importance of your existence !

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