Meticulously balancing cinema-verite intimacy and dreamlike reverie, “45365” fashions a seductive, fascinating tapestry of small-town life by interweaving seemingly random glimpses of residents in Sidney, Ohio. Sibling documakers Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross are natives of the Ohio hamlet, which may explain how they gained the confidence of the unaffected locals. Even so, the filmmakers often come across as dispassionate anthropologists, treating their subjects with a bemused curiosity that, fortunately, never curdles into condescension. Winner of the documentary prize at the recent SXSW Film Festival, the pic could attract venturesome ticketbuyers.

Rarely devoting more than a few minutes to any single sequence, “45365” (Sidney’s zip code) captures events over a few weeks in autumn 2007. Townspeople appear at gatherings — a country fair, high school football games — and in their homes, only occasionally addressing the camera. A few plotlines are forged through the accumulation of disparate details. (A young man moves inexorably toward arrest and trial, much to his anxious mom’s dismay.) For the most part, however, it’s left to the aud to draw connections and conclusions in a polished docu that boasts ineffably beautiful HD lensing.


  • Production: A Ross Film production. Produced, directed, edited by Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross.
  • Crew: Camera (color, HD), Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross; music, Jeff Larger, Charles Liddy, Sonya Phillips, Alan Reid, Bill Ross III. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, March 29, 2009. (In SXSW Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 91 MIN.