72 minutes

An auspicious feature debut for young US director Matthew Petock (also scripting and editing), A Little Closer doesn't really bring anything new to the table of modern American no-budget indie film-making. Its lyrical, hand-held approach to character and landscape unavoidably recalls earlier "fellow travelers" such as Antonio Campos (Afterschool), Lance Hammer (Ballast) or the early films of David Gordon Green. But mr. Petock engagingly transcends the classification as yet another young rural filmmaker through a keen sense of narrative and a lovely attention to detail, essential if his slender story is to work.
     Essentially, A Little Closer is a classic country song wrapped in new-fangled alt-country trappings about people looking for love in all the wrong places: here, it is harried single mom Sheryl (a remarkable Sayra Player), whose awkward attempts at socialising in rural Virginia are juxtaposed to the sexual awakenings of her two callous teenage sons. Although the film spends a lot of time cutting between the three, it's Sheryl's tale that gives it an edge, especially in a superb single take on a dancefloor that runs the gamut of love-gone-wrong emotions only through ms. Player and Chris Kies' eyes and bodies. It's not the only highlight of the film, but is the strongest evidence that mr. Petock is a talent worth keeping your eye on.

Starring Sayra Player, Parker Lutz, Eric Baskerville.
     Directed, written and edited by Matthew Petock; produced by mr. Petock, Rachael Kliman, Holly Clarke, Zachary Shedd; music by Travis Tucker, Philip Heesen III; director of photography (colour), Daniel Patrick Carbone; production designer, ms. Clarke; costume designer, Lauren Edelstein.
     A Flies presentation/production, in association with Armian Pictures. (World sales, Coach 14.)
     Screened: IndieLisboa 2011 official selection advance DVD screener, May 3rd 2011.

A LITTLE CLOSER (Trailer, 2011) from Matthew Petock on Vimeo.


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