Acoming-of-age tale with a slight literary twist, this debut venture for helmer Alex Zedicoff captures something about the twilight between adolescence and manhood, but no flags will fly at the B.O., even on the indie circuit.
Title refers to childhood game teenaged Daniel (Chris Harlowe) recalls through innumerable flashbacks as he tries to cope with the onslaught of adult problems. His dad’s a self-absorbed weakling, his stepmom a neurotic wreck, and a troubled tough guy (Jason Collins) seems to follow everywhere he goes. The bully even shows up when the scene switches from a working-class Seattle nabe to an out-of-town summer camp.
For a while, Danny boy forms an uneasy alliance with a spoiled younger camper (Seth Sexton), based on their mutual admiration for “The Odyssey.”
This Homeric connection is stretched to the max in “Capture the White Flag,” via redundant, superficial references and a modern-day Cyclops who appears at least twice too often to have any shock effect.
The Greek classic may be the one source hammered home here — the only book ever written, to hear these folks tell it — but there are also rude hints of “Portnoy’s Complaint” when our hero meets Jane Fliegelbaum (wooden Erin Randels) , the tease of his dreams.
Naturally, Daniel quietly triumphs against adversity and finds the Inner Strength to grow, but at considerable cost to the narrative and even the most sympathetic auds.
The dramatic arc of long lulls followed by minor explosions soon grows numbing, and perfs generally aren’t up to the journey.
Fortunately, the lead is, and whenever the camera rests on Harlowe’s expressive face, pic hints at more soulful stuff than it finally delivers. That’s partly because Zedicoff shows so little compassion for the other characters. The females are all harridans or shrews, and the language is much too harsh for “Flag” to find a home in school programs that otherwise might have welcomed it. Tech credits are passable for this no-budget production.