by Charles Tatum
"Maybe Tomorrow" is one of those films that comes out of nowhere, packing an emotional punch and technical finesse that is sadly lacking in other smaller budgeted independent films.Graham (Dominik Teifenthaler) is a hot young Manhattan DA who is being courted by sleazy Senator Clemens (an outstanding Christopher Shyer) to run on a ticket for the governorship of New York. Graham's fellow law school buddy, Evan (Paul Lange), caters to his friend's every need, becoming his servant more than his equal. Both men's lives are turned upside down by the return of another law school buddy, Russ (writer/director Michael Wolfe), who ends up being arrested and arraigned. Graham has just one "incident" in his past that might cause trouble to his campaign for lieutenant governor, and he orders Evan to get Russ released, and then invites Russ up to his very large Hamptons beach house to "talk".
"Or, maybe right now?"
It seems while in college, Graham, Evan, and Russ, while on spring break, took drugs and assaulted a prostitute. Russ' life took a quick downward spiral as he was kicked out of school and served time for the incident, while Graham and Evan moved on with their own somewhat flawed lives. Russ has a drug-addled girlfriend, Kiah (Carolina Ravassa), who also shows up at the beach house, where the trio of men begin to hammer away at their pasts, look inward at their lives, and try to figure out how to keep Russ happy, and quiet.
Wolfe has written himself a very juicy role, but there is not one bad performance in the entire film. Teifenthaler's Graham is both likeable and a little despicable. Paul Lange is perfectly cast as the indecisive Evan, whose loyalty to his friend jeopardizes his marriage. Wolfe does not make Russ yet another movie drug addict, but turns him into a vulnerable and sympathetic character whose pain and bitterness toward his former best friends is understandable.
The film itself has a nice polished look to it, with Wolfe doing many interesting things with his limited budget. Todd Sandler's editing is first-rate, with many memorable cuts and fades (watch for the telephone call between Graham and Clemens, and the nicely-done back and forth between the three men and the respective women in their lives). The musical and song score are fantastic, and the cinematography, especially at the beach house, is luscious.
Wolfe's screenplay may be mistaken for a former stage play, he opens it up nicely, not hitting the beach house until a third of the way into the film. While a couple of scenes seem slightly forced (Graham and Evan's main argument, Graham's climactic speech), they are balanced by some really incredible dialogue and acting from the three men. The tension is uncomfortable, the viewer is as uneasy as Graham and Evan are around their unpredictable former friend.
I did appreciate Wolfe's direction. Under another's hand, this might have been merely a series of arguments between the cast members, but Wolfe lets the characters take their time. The lines are delivered naturally, no one seems to want to steal any scenes and chew the scenery. The scene where the three men reminisce about a date gone wrong, laughing and drinking, before things take an ugly turn, is a great thing to watch."Maybe Tomorrow" is currently making the film festival rounds, and should definitely be checked out. It is a tough little drama and well worth a peek. For more information, go to www.maybetomorrowthefilm.com.
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originally posted: 01/27/13 07:19:20