It's hard to imagine that the script underlying this confused effort would
get past any professional reader. That didn't stop the producers of this
film who somehow came up with the necessary financing. Prospects for their
recoupment as a result of boxoffice (or DVD) success is likely to be hard
coming, but I wish them well.
In its lethargic and aimless way, it suggests that it was developed as
student actors were found, pasted together in an episodic melange and given
some consistency by a skeletal plotline and the three main characters. Chief
among them is Sam, as played by Gavin Heffernan, as unidimensional and
uncharismatic as a leading actor can get. His main attribute is his
annoyingly accomodative personality. Heffernan is also responsible for the
writing, editing and first-time directing.
Sam has two female pals. There's best friend Niki (Erin Simkin) who is
pregnant to whom he's going to propose they get married in order to
legitimize her predicament. There's also his newfound lady friend, Rachel
(Janet Lane) whom he meets when an apparently armed thief holds them up in a
store, making off with Sam's engagement ring and Rachel's drug stash that
she's delivering to a buyer. Losing it can have a life-threatening
consequence, no matter what the circumstances.
Sam and she investigate and somehow track down the thief while he's playing
Russian Roulette with blood-filled needles, one of which contains HIV. When
he gives up the stash, the delivery to the buyer turns into a choreographed
While all this is going on with ever-sweet, unengaging Sam, Niki gets
involved with a prostitute mother (Denise Depass) who hires her to watch over
her sleeping teenage daughter (interesting Yetide Badaki) while she turns a
trick. This evolves into a plea for help that becomes potentially criminal.
Heffernan doesn't have a handle on how to accomplish his apparent purpose of
echoing the past within the context of the present. If that's indeed his aim
here, its clarity is lost amidst the ill-expressed mini-sequences that
comprise it. The intention might also be to present a picture of teenage
angst in Montreal, Canada, where it's set, but it lost me in an
"all-in-one-day into night" fog of sequencing and generally unsavvy
The effort to render larger meanings out of apparent triviality may be
applauded, but that's where the praise ends. The difficulty of its
meandering, underexpressed style limits the possibility of making a
connection or getting involved.
"Expiration" is currently making the festival rounds, in search of a
distributor. As for Heffernan, we commend him to some mainstream work before
his next indie outing.
~~ Jules Brenner