Writer: Brett Butler
Director: Brett and Jason Butler
Budget: $500 Canadian
Gross: film is not released yet
we have a first here for filmed but not forgotten. a movie that isn't even in a theater near you yet. Confusions Of An Unmarried Couple, the new film from the butler brothers, is currently playing the festival circuit and i was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy. and i say 'lucky enough' because this is a little gem of a movie that unfortunately will probably not get much theater time (so look for it on DVD in the future).
the film starts off with dan (played by brett butler) moping around his apartment, drinking lots of beer and crossing the days off his calender leading up to 'surprise visit to lisa'. lisa as we find out soon enough is his ex-fiance, but at this point we have no idea what led to the 'ex' part. when the day arrives he heads out of his apartment and over to lisa's which is where the rest of the film takes place. over the course of the next hour our so we find out about dan, lisa, what their relationship was like, why it ended and if maybe they might get back together.
While the general premise of 'the fucked up relationship movie' is well tred, Confusions Of An Unmarried Couple definitely brings its own take on the genre. the dialogue is smart and some of it has a kevin smith like tone and wit to it. while this might not always be how 'real people' talk, there is a real honesty about the film and the characters and anyone who has ever been in a relationship of any sort will find themselves relating to at least parts of what these two are going through. i even found myself switching back and forth, taking both their sides at one point or another, thinking to myself 'what's his problem' and then 'why is she so angry', etc...- everything isn't always black and white.
imdb tells us that the budget for the film was $500 and it's all up their on the screen. given that this is basically a two-person, one-location shoot, there wasn't really any need for more, and it actually works well in the context of the film. having to film within such a relatively small apartment forced them to go with simple camera angles and movement which all added to the 'claustrophobia' of the two characters. they are always so close to each other as they deal with their issues, which makes it all that more emotional for them and us.
i feel like i am making the film sound like a drama, when it is really more of a comedy, and it is pretty funny. another part of the story is that dan's brother has been filming the two of them making a documentary about them. this provides many 'interview' moments when the characters will be talking directly to the camera about an issue that was just brought up in the main story arc of the film. sure, these 'interview' moments are script devices, but they work, and actually lead to some of the biggest laughs in the movie (when dan is talking about how, if he was to cheat, it would be with girls very different from his girlfriend that is some funny stuff).
the performances by the two leads are very important in a film with basically just two characters, and these two are solid. i thought that the chick playing lisa tended to over do it sometimes, falling back on her high-voice 'yelling' too much, but overall she was good and brett butler did a good job with dan.
they call their films a buttler brothers brew and given that one or both of them directed it, filmed it, edited it, produced it and acted in it, it is definitely their own. i haven't seen any of their other work, but you can tell that these guys love making movies and are doing their part to keep true low-budget indie movie making alive. so if you get a chance to see it, do so.