[Editor's Note: over the next few days, I'm reviewing movies shown at the KC Film Festival. The film fest ran from April 11-15. To learn more, visit kcfilmfest.org.]
Drawn in by the description of the movie in the festival’s program, as well as the screening time earlier in the day, I ended up at the screening of Country Story on day three at the Kansas City Film Fest.
This story follows an unemployed young man named Jason around his small town in rural Oregon. He hangs out with his friends, plays a little basketball, and refuses to look for a job. The star of this movie, however, almost seemed to be the landscapes. What stood out to me most about the film was that it is absolutely gorgeous to watch. The cinematography and the editing seemed so seamless. The acting and conversations between characters also seemed very natural. In fact, there were times that I wondered if I wasn’t watching a documentary. I really felt like I was watching the filmmakers capture the reality of some of my friends’ lives in Lawrence, Kansas. It was incredible.
In the movie’s description, this sentence stood out to me: “When [Jason's] overwhelming apathy eventually causes him to make a grave mistake, he sets off with his pals into the deep backwoods.” Well, not exactly. The description led me to think I was possibly going to watch a drama, or even a murder mystery– and that’s not at all what you get. In doing more research about the film, I discovered its Kickstarter in which Country Story is described as a narrative film. YES. Exactly. I wasn’t disappointed in the film by any means, but I think I might have enjoyed it a little more if I understood what I was getting into.
Overall, Country Story captures breathtaking scenery, and a very natural storyline and characterizations of people and their lives in a small town. The film will not be for everyone, but those who are expecting and enjoy narrative films and beautiful cinematography will be very impressed.