A longstanding football rivalry is fodder for a fitfully amusing, ultimately heavy-handed war allegory in “The Milk Can.” Standing in the shadow of “Dogville” (and the “Simpsons” episode in which Springfield gets divided in two), writer-director Matt Kresling’s debut feature offers some telling observations about sports fanaticism, collective post-9/11 security paranoia and the unwillingness of life to conform to the tidy chapters of history books. But the constant back-and-forth between sides in pic’s fictitious skirmish becomes repetitive well before the end credits roll. With re-editing, pic could have life on the fest circuit.
For 70 years, towns Fortuna and Ferndale have played a football game for possession of pic’s titular object. But when this year’s competition is scratched due to inclement weather, tensions between the two towns begin to simmer. And when the levy intended to protect Fortuna from severe flooding ends up nearly destroying Ferndale, tensions boil over into a veritable civil war — none of which surprises history teacher Linus (Grady Cousins), pic’s de facto Cassandra. Among microbudget pic’s cleverer touches is the animating of certain action on an overhead map in lieu of more complex visual effects.