+ Recommended – NR, Short, Comedy (5 minutes)
Mikey, a young boy, must determine whose religion to follow. His father, who practices Catholicism, or his mother, who is Jewish. Unfortunately, this conversion occurs during dinner in which Mikey can’t be excused until his parents allow him to leave. Little do his parents know, he will get the last word.
Five minutes can feel like an eternity if done wrong. At the same time, it can benefit a close, intimate story like Choosing Sides. With each intercut, the tension rises exponentially without any serious consequences for the characters. The script doesn’t clash with the setting, as there are no big set changes; the entire film centers around a dinner table. The quick, witty jabs between Peter (Timothy J. Cox) and Ellen (Rachel Lynn Jackson) are hilarious and chemistry between them resonates via two polished performances.
However, it is Mikey, played by Max Abe Plush, that steals the whole show. In terms of dialogue, he isn’t given much to say but the comedic punch from his stone-faced line delivery is felt. Each character feels relatable, even when the plot seems a bit stretched from reality. Director Lee Loechler has a knack for discovering new angles and executing subtle changes in camera work to reveal different sides of the set. The space feels three dimensional and lived in—a task that often seems chore-like to a filmmaker.
A simplistic set, sharp dialogue, and three great performances provide a pleasurable, snappy viewing experience. Go give Choosing Sides a quick watch on Vimeo. Support your local indie scene, because I guarantee that great work comes from anywhere and everywhere. Be on the lookout for more indie reviews in the next couple weeks!