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Independent Feature Film Production:
A Complete Guide from Concept Through Distribution

. "Expiration"

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 suicide scene.

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 storytelling.

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.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  

Opinion Section
Comments from readers:
Well written
I've seen the movie and I agree with the review
The review will influence me to recommend and read more by this reviewer

I hated this movie. And Gavin is an arrogant ---- ------ anyway. He thinks he is God's gift to cinema, but-- he can't write jack taco. He is a boring, shallow person, and it shows in his boring, shallow, and pretentious film.

                                                   ~~ Anthony

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First timer Gavin Heffernan as Sam
Plodding his way along his plotline

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