James White (2015) Review

James White is a film that intrigued me right from its first trailer yet that was two years ago and it took until just now to finally see the film. It’s one of those movies that I just never went out of my way to see despite my interest and ultimately forgot about. Kyle had this issue also with forgetting about the film and then finally he remembered and watched, Which then brought the film into our weekly swaps and I finally was able to sit back and see this film I kept putting off. Well I can’t necessarily tell you I enjoyed this film because there is zero amount of joy in this film but what I can say is this is a pretty well made and heartbreaking story of a man who ultimately just has the crap kicked out of his emotionally and continues to spiral downward.

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James White (Christopher Abbott, recently featured in It Comes At Nightis a young New Yorker who has recently lost his father, who he hardly knew as he walked out when he was young. His mother (Cynthia Nixon) is battling stage four cancer and James is taking care of her while also dealing with his demons about his father. This brings upon a lot of self-destructive behavior which greatly effects his ability to get a job. As James cares for his mother, he tries to become a better and more headstrong person even if that proves to be a challenge.

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Christopher Abbott really impressed me in It Comes At Night but here he absolutely puts on an acting course. His performance is absolutely gut-wrenching but also stays completely subtle and real throughout. Not once did I see an actor but instead I saw a real person dealing with some of the roughest life patches a person could possibly deal with. Same with Cynthia Nixon who goes through an absolute transformation that made my stomach hurt and heart ache as she slowly becomes more and more frail from the horrible disease she has. Honestly every actor in the film gives a fantastic performance. Kid Cudi (Scott Muscudi) showed me how great of an actor he is as Nick, James best friend. Everyone just felt so real.

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The entire film felt real as there is no “movie” moment in here. Just realistic situations and it added so much of an emotional pull to the film. My issue with the film is cinematography related. There’s a few times the camera would pull out of focus. I did enjoy the first person style of filming as we saw everything from James’ perspective and it helped me connect with the character. Also the idea to use handheld was smart as it added more of a realistic feeling to the film even if some of the handheld did get distracting, only in the moments of following characters running, it got extremely shaky.

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James White is a sad and bleak movie. A film that at the end really doesn’t have a satisfying character arc. This isn’t a negative however. James White’s character can’t overcome these awful and hard situations he’s pleagued with and I like that the film doesn’t try and make the film have a happy ending. This is exactly what an Indie should be and I think fans of this kind of film will definitely wanna check this out.

Grade: B

Kyle’s Next Film:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

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With War for the Planet of the Apes releasing next Friday, here is the 2nd installment in the trilogy following up on Kyle’s last swap, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This is in my opinion, one of the best blockbusters ever made because well, it hardly feels like one. Think of something like Christopher Nolan’s Inception. It’s a summer film with a summer budget that happens to be a deep and thought-provoking drama. Enjoy!


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