The Speed of Life

Tale of misfit Brooklyn teens stealing vid cameras takes on so many characters it loses track of the threads.

With:
With: Jeremy Allen White, Justin Soto, Samantha Hosie-Leung, Robert Seymour, Blaze Foster, Janessa Tamayo, Peter Appel, Reginald Goldman, Catrina Ganey, Ella "Peaches" Garrett, Noah Fleiss, Edward Seamon, Angela Trento, Gil Rogers, Jackson Ning, George T. Odom, Bari Hyman, Lourdes Sierra.

If there’s a primer on how to make an American indie, then Ed Radtke’s “The Speed of Life” has dutifully checked off every item. Multiple shooting formats? Check. Oddballs added for flavor but not plot? Check. Acoustic guitar? Check. Tale of misfit Brooklyn teens stealing vid cameras takes on so many characters it loses track of the threads, while its “revelations” fail to move. Possible filler for smaller indie fests, pic, produced by Fine Line’s Ira Deutchman, may see a short run in Gotham.

Foster kid Sammer (Jeremy Allen White, confident) and friend Dukie (Justin Soto) steal tourists’ cameras, downloading the footage, which narrator Sammer uses as fantasy aides to see the world and follow in his dad’s supposed move to Alaska. Meanwhile, misanthropic probation officer Frank (Peter Appel) pays Sammer to follow Jerry (Edward Seamon), a half-crazed old man with a mysterious beef. Variety of formats is meant to further the sense that, as Sammer discovers, it’s not what you see but how you see it. Earlier title, “Superheroes,” might explain the simpleton in a blue plastic cape, though the script hasn’t the Damon Runyon touch for realistic multicharacter atmosphere.

The Speed of Life

Production: A Transparent Films, Emerging Pictures, Solaris, Kindred Media production. Produced by Ira Deutchman, Ed Radtke, Greg O'Connor. Executive producers, Joe Nicolo, Jonathan Sachar, Jeff Erb, F.X. Vitolo. Co-producers, Josh Fagin, Cindy Tolan, Susan Leber. Directed by Ed Radtke. Screenplay, Radtke, Marc Nieson.

Crew: Camera (color, HD, HDV, mini-DV, Hi-8, VHS-to-HD), Learan Kahanov; editors, Jim Klein, Radtke; music, Michael Rankin, Tim Berger, Radtke; production designer, Susan Magestro; costume designer, Michael Bevins. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Venice Days), Aug. 29, 2007. Running time: 84 MIN.

With: With: Jeremy Allen White, Justin Soto, Samantha Hosie-Leung, Robert Seymour, Blaze Foster, Janessa Tamayo, Peter Appel, Reginald Goldman, Catrina Ganey, Ella "Peaches" Garrett, Noah Fleiss, Edward Seamon, Angela Trento, Gil Rogers, Jackson Ning, George T. Odom, Bari Hyman, Lourdes Sierra.

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