26 February, 2013

Macon Review: "The Suicide Kid" (****)

Dean Tardioli stars in "The Suicide Kid"

I haven't embarked on my filmmaking journey yet, but I can imagine one of the brightest highlights will be news of acceptance into my first film festival. I'm sure there was much rejoicing to be had when the filmmaking trio of Adrian Murray, Marcus Sullivan and Dean Tardioli received news that their film, "The Suicide Kid," had been accepted into the Macon Film Festival. A few weeks later, the film was selected by the Atlanta Film Festival. I'm thrilled that these Canadian film students have received such a warm welcome into the industry from Georgia's festival circuit first.

"The Suicide Kid" is an innovative, meticulously pieced-together feature that tells the story of an insecure college freshman entirely through his video blogs. A tough lesson in self-awareness that everyone must learn at some point (and usually in college), the film captures the emotional significance of the first year experience and winds up being more poignant than the filmmakers even intended.

Told through two concurrent video blog timelines– the first starts as Timothy (Tardioli) begins his online video diary, the second after he has become a viral sensation following the upload of his failed suicide attempt. The two timelines are essentially the same quest for popularity and affirmation, echoed through the greater picture of Timothy's decent from insecurity into douchebaggery. The convergence of the timelines, the suicide video, becomes a much anticipated focal point of the film, inconspicuously building suspense. Several strong plot points anchor a film already bursting to life with personality– with evidence of inspiration from "Jurassic Park," Christopher Nolan and Michael Scott.

The film's star, Dean Tardioli, is also credited as a screenwriter due to the improvised nature of the film. Tardioli is nothing short of extraordinary, making Timothy as real and pitiful as many of the people you could find with similar video diaries on YouTube right now. Murray and Sullivan also appear in lesser roles, but Molly Reisman as Timothy's love interest, Chloe, is the top supporting player.

"The Suicide Kid" might seem a few minutes longer than necessary, with some of the blog entries needing to have made greater leaps, perhaps. There is plenty to keep you entertained, however, and any uninformed audience members could easily be convinced the film is non-fiction.

A simplistic premise, but an ambitious undertaking– this filmmaking trio (with Sullivan at the helm) has accomplished something that could garner a pretty substantial following. I'm privileged to be among the first to get the word out about "The Suicide Kid" and I can't wait to see it again at the Atlanta Film Festival.

4 out of 5 stars.

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