Directed by Cullen Carr
When it comes to Indie films having the lead actor, director, writer, and producer all listed as the same person is usually a harbinger of doom. As soon as you see that you can usually kiss any and all quality and entertainment value good-bye. Thankfull this rule is not the case with a short film I recently watched called “Golden Age”.
Cullen Carr practically comes across as a one-man-band in the credits of this 30 minute old-school horror film. He wore enough caps in this production that I’m surprised he didn’t need a chiropractor (of course his daring leap off a cliff may have done that for him). “Golden Age” echoes its creator’s versatility as it plays out in a seamless mosaic of grind house, film noir, and giallo cinemas. You wouldn’t know by looking at it that Carr and his movie making mob were filmmaking newbies when they worked on “Golden Age”.
The short film takes the audience into the life of Burton (Cullen Carr), starting with one seriously shitty day. It’s the kind of day that usually ends up being sung about with a country twang and a fiddle in the musical mix. After losing his job and finding his wife in bed with his best friend, Burton’s mild manner goes up in flames; literally! His meltdown is brilliant and damn well deserved! He then goes on an extended drinking binge that floats him through several painful months on an amber colored river of self pity.
On one particularly bad night of self-destructive alcohol consumption, Burton ends up in multiple confrontations including those with a porcelain bowl, his cheating wife, local law enforcement, a fortuitous getaway driver, and a sadistic cult. Sounds like the kind of luck I’ve encountered on certain personal occasions that will remain untold. Unfortunately for Burton though, his fate is less than a pleasant one.
“Golden Age” is a sparkling stream in comparison to the all too often stagnant pool of independent horror films full of kitchen cupboard zombies and vampires. It falls back in time to borrow its essence from films like I Spit On Your Grave, Last House On The Left, and even Cannibal Holocaust. Yet this is done with enough skill and tact that you never get the impression of anything more than careful admiration rather than blatant larceny.
Carr and his filmmaking cohorts knew exactly what they wanted and made sure that they got just that. They had enough competence to know what to use and what to lose to tell the story they wanted to tell. They didn’t try to fill in a certain timeslot with unnecessary gibberish in order to gratify any outside entity; instead they took essential elements of film and edited them together proficiently into a well made cinematic piece that works on its own merit.
I was stunned at how well put together the film ended up being. The direction is topnotch, the sound is first-rate for a low-budget indie film, the cast gleams with acting talent, and the writing is well thought out all the way down to the simplest exchange of dialouge. Nothing ever seems forced or misplaced so the story flows easily from one scene to the next even though the subject matter changes drastically from one moment to the next. Carr’s “Golden Age” doesn’t just climb high on the indie ladder; it adds a whole new rung.
Personally I can’t wait for these folks to make another film. It’s nice to find a group who not only are adept behind the camera but can also tell a compelling story without having it get lost in a milky puddle at the end of an extended cinematic masturbation session. I definitely could have watched more, but I’m glad they had the sense to use what they did and let it stand as it is. They did a great job!
“Golden Age” leaves a explicitly filthy taste in your mouth that satisfies the nastiest craving for depravity. I’ll let you know right now that this cinematic snack has left me hungry with anticipation for the next course on the Stotam Up menu. Cullen Carr had some big balls to make a film like this; you’d never even know that he kept them covered with a tube sock!
4 1/2 out of 5
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