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Review by Tom Avila
Rating: (3 out of 5)
Tuesday, 10/21/2008, 9:00 PM
Feature presentation, $10 at AFI Silver
CASPER ANDREAS’ BETWEEN Love & Goodbye calls to mind that golden time when MTV trafficked in wall-to-wall music videos. The best and brightest quickly moved away from the so-called concert video and took the opportunity to transform their three minutes of fame into a turn as a movie star. These were hyper-produced, deliciously over stylized mini-films that managed to tell a complete, tight little story in a very brief span of time.
Andreas has taken some cues from these pioneers whose sequin dusted boots he’s trying on, but his sense of narrative is not as developed as it could be. Fortunately, he’s savvy enough to have created a visually-intriguing movie whose flaws are almost airbrushed into submission.
Marcel and Kyle are young and in love and look as if they fell off the cover of a Bel Ami video. Marcel is French and desperate to stay in America, so — as movie characters often do — the couple convinces their lesbian gal pal Sarah to marry Marcel so he can stay in the country.
Before the rice has been swept up and Marcel and Kyle have finished moving into their new apartment, Kyle’s sister April, a prostitute struggling to give up the life, appears, looking for a place to stay and a chance to get back the friendship she once shared with her brother — a friendship, April believes, that ended when Kyle started dating Marcel.
What follows wants to be a gritty spiral of hate, jealousy and malicious actions. Unfortunately, Andreas piles too much into his beautiful little vehicle and distracts from the movie’s central focus. There are too many characters and too many meandering asides that don’t serve story. Worst of all, there’s too much resistance to letting someone take the fall as the genuine villain.
What salvages Between Love & Goodbye is the decision to stud the movie with performances by Kyle’s band. More than throwaway opportunities to insert a montage, the songs inform the story and go a good distance to moving the plot forward. The pop-flavored, punk-tinged, Ziggy Stardusted tunes remain with you long after you’ve left the theater. Which is more than can be said for the film as a whole.