Review: ‘Deprivation’

A drama of disturbed young men, Jesse Scolaro's "Deprivation" gets lost trying to understand the pathology in a male friendship gone sour. Scolaro was a producer on "Manito," and his pic shares with that Latino Gotham work a filmmaking style that places improv inspiration over fully developed scenes. "Deprivation" short-circuits characters' frustrations with frustrating onscreen behavior.

A disturbing drama of disturbed young men, Jesse Scolaro’s “Deprivation” gets lost trying to understand the pathology in a male friendship gone sour. Scolaro was a producer on “Manito,” and his pic shares with that acclaimed Latino Gotham work a ragged-edged filmmaking style that places improv inspiration over fully developed scenes. While “Manito” found its emotional pitch, “Deprivation” short-circuits characters’ frustrations with frustrating onscreen behavior. After a 2003 SXSW preem, pic has floundered on fest circuit, though art-cable outlets will be calling.

Barely existing in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, Steven (Neil Driscoll Jr.) feels alienated from friends, and spends his evenings calling sex phone lines, until the grim tedium is broken by the entry of long-lost pal Thomas (Jeremy Davidson). An unspoken tension builds between the two, until spilling over in Thomas’ obnoxious manner to Steve’s friends in an extended and frenzied Cassavetes-like party scene. Shocking twist sets up the possibility of a devastating conclusion, but it never happens, pointing to the pic’s persistent problem lack of dramatic follow-through.

Deprivation

Production

A 7th Floor presentation. Produced by Jesse Scolaro, Allen Bain, Darren Goldberg, Leon Grodski. Directed by Jesse Scolaro. Screenplay, Scolaro, Leon Grodski. Didier Gertsch CQ, Pearl Gluck; story, Scolaro.

Crew

Camera (Moving Images color, Technicolor prints; DV-to-35mm), Gertsch; editor, Pete Beaudreau; music, Bradford Reed; production designer, John Nissenbaum; costume designer, Cara Tabachnick. Reviewed on videotape, Los Angeles, April 27, 2004. (In Italian Film Awards Festival, Los Angeles.) Running time: 76 MIN.

With

Neil Driscoll Jr., Jeremy Davidson, Kellee Stewart, Carlos Trevino, Melanie Torres, Deanna Barone, Mary Monahan.
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