BluRay/DVD Reviews

EXPIRATION

By • Jun 15th, 2003 •

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2003 Sunchaser

When SLACKERS and CLERKS came to theaters a decade ago, a film genre was born – the slacker film. You know what I mean: those verbally driven low-budget indies where unmotivated but insightful young adults ponder everything from pop culture to the existence of God. EXPIRATION, a Canadian video feature directed by a youthful Gavin Heffernan, currently carries the slacker torch.

First, let me state the one reason why you should catch EXPIRATION. The superb videography by co-producers Sebastian Grobys and Ben Dally pushes the video medium to a new high. When need be, colors are beautifully bold, or subtle. There’s one scene, set against a sunrise, that rivals Freddie Young’s sunrise shot in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. The choosing of locations (in and around Montreal) are all mostly on the money. Gavin and company, (Mostly made up of fellow students at McGill college) deserve kudos in the eye departments.

Now come the problems. The story. The characters. The story concerns an assortment of rather young, aimless Montreal citizens, kids going for that slacker look and persona. Twenty-something Sam (director Heffernan in a well-contained performance) is driving through night-time Montreal with his pregnant girlfriend. They get lost, and she soon needs medicine. While Sam shops in a strange grocery store, the place is held up. Oliver, the slacker robber, steals everything, including the belongings of innocent bystanders. Oliver accidentally drops a business card during his exit, which sends Sam, and Rachel, another shopper who lost a valuable but mysterious bag to the robber, on a quest for Oliver. As Sam and Rachel track Oliver, they encounter equally lost oddball characters. It all ends with Sam and Rachel attending a sunrise rooftop ceremony run by Jeremy, a drug addicted older man. Jeremy plans to cap this ceremony by leaping to his death. Sam and Rachel just plainly watch Jeremy prepare for his doom. Sam offers some flowery words to Jeremy. Rachel watches as if she’s fed up, like she would rather be at a decent rave bar. Without anybody trying to really stop poor Jeremy, he jumps off the roof. Sam and Rachel look down at what is obviously his splattered body with a disinterested “Oh, well…..” look. Now, I’m no law enforcement expert, but wouldn’t this adorable little couple get in a ton of trouble with the police? Obviously, they never reported a dead, messy Jeremy at the base of the building. That’s called a felony crime. Also, there’s an earlier bit with Rachel obtaining the grocery store’s security videotape of the robbery. Don’t get me started on that big hiccup in logic! That’s my main problem with EXPIRATION. The characters depicted here don’t do one thing that’s worth the audience’s attention or sympathies. Watching these blank characters was like watching a bunch of bugs around a spilled Pepsi can. The emotional involvement is at a zero.

Heffernan obviously cared enough about his film to give it a rich look. I just wish the camera wasn’t pointing at such pretentious and predictable events.


Credits:
Written, Directed and Edited by Gavin Heffernan
Produced by Sebastian Grobys and Samantha Gutterman

Cast:
Janet Lane,
Gavin Heffernan,
Erin Simkin,
Yetide Badaki

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