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Volume 4, Number 2
February, 1999

The Distraction - Not quite a review...


I recently attended a rough cut showing of "The Distraction", a new movie by independent filmmaker Greg Tennant. To lay all my cards out up front, Greg is a contributor to the SCROOMtimes. Later this year, we will publish excerpts from Greg's movie-making diary, providing some interesting insight into the process that one must go through to make a movie outside the Hollywood circle.

When I was invited to the sceening, I wasn't really sure what to expect. My exposure to independent films so far has been "Clerks" and "Mallrats", and... er, that's really it. I'm not known as a big movie goer, unless something is going to blow up (yes, I'm a big fan of the "Lethal Weapon" series). But, I'm always one for expanding my world view, so I was more than happy to try it out.

So, I showed up at a local college's television studio to check out the film, and I must say, I was impressed. This version of the film was very rough - the image quality was bad (a result of the transfer to NSTC video for the showing), and the sound wasn't finished. But, underneath the rough was a little glitter....

The story of "The Distraction" is that of a young man, freshly married, in a new job far from his college life and friends, facing up to the challenges of creating a friendship with a woman that he is attracted to. There is a reminder in the film that, in an earlier period of their relationship, his wife had an affair that has left him with some uneasy feelings. At the same time, she is dealing with some guilt that she is seeking to assuage by pushing this friendship. This is a strong story, fresh and not a re-hash of something familiar. The telling itself is a little rough, but much better than you would expect from a micro-budget film.

The characterizations, though, are the strength of the movie. Over the course of telling the tale, the three main characters (Paul, his wife Ally, and Leslie, the "Distraction" in the title) become people you know, or even that you are. I particularly identified with Paul, in his bumbling attempts to fit in at the office job he has taken. Sympathies lie strongly with his wife, Ally, who seems to be the victim, despite the fact that she has brought much of it on herself by insisting that Paul try making this new friend. Leslie's character is a little harder to come to terms with, as she is a bit flightly, and not terrible stable, but everyone at least knows someone like her.

There are really two climactic moments in the film, and both surprised me, one REALLY catching me off-guard. There is a lot to like about this film, and I am looking forward to seeing the final version. You should, too.
For those in the San Francisco Bay area, there will be a showing of "The Distraction" in San Jose at the Cinequest San Jose Film Festival. It will play one time only, on Monday, March 1st at 7:00 p.m. in the Camera Three Cinema in downtown San Jose. Go see the world premier, and meet some of your favorite SCROOMtimes personalities! 8-)

For advance tickets, call Cinequest at 408-295-3378.
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