My Name is A by Anonymous Movie Review
Written by Simon Bland
DVD released by Mad Sin Cinema
Written and directed by Shane Ryan
2011, 90 minutes, Not Rated
Katie Marsh as Alyssa
Demi Baumann as The Sidekick
Teona Dolnikova as The Performer
Alex Damiano as The Angst
Kaliya Skye as Elizabeth
Joseph Marsh as Joseph
This low-budget uber-indie couldn’t be more mysterious. The sample screener we were sent came with an ominous black and white photograph. The picture? A Blair Witch-esque image of a young girl draped in shadows pleading into the lens of a digital camera. If the PR folks for director Shane Ryan’s equally mysteriously titled film My Name Is A were trying to grab the attention of potential viewers, they succeeded.
It’s a shame then that the contents of this mystifying DVD case aren’t half as exciting. This slow burning mood piece has high hopes, but ultimately gets lost in its own moping. Here’s a little bit of pre-viewing advice: if you’re looking for an easy watch, look elsewhere. My Name Is A tells three separate stories, each shot predominately on handheld digi-cams and featuring performances so naturalistic you’ll wonder if they were even scripted. For capturing an authentic glimpse into the gritty day-to-day of these troubled types this technique is perfect. For telling an engaging story? Not so much.
Each character remains anonymous (points for all those who guessed that one) as their stories intertwine and come together for a dark conclusion. We have two very bored and sweary teenage sisters who spend most of their time arguing, putting on emo make up and joking about death. Our second tragic heroine is a rail-thin young woman who’s struggling with bulimia and sexual abuse. And finally we have a wannabe singer who may or may not be being abused by her father. Needless to say, there are a lot of emotions flying about. What’s more, the overtly arty way in which 31-year-old director Shane Ryan directs the piece makes deciphering exactly what’s going on and why, more trouble than its predictable pay off is really worth.
With an ever-present and brooding soundtrack, My Name Is A may be better described in emotional terms. It’s clear that Ryan, whose previous IMDB credits include a handful of porn slashers, was attempting to capture a feeling here, to pull off something deep. He half succeeds too, scratching beneath the skin of today’s youth to reveal just how unhappy they really are. Perhaps with a more experienced cast and a better script he may have succeeded. However, the finished product takes forever to reach a conclusion that ultimately you have no real emotional stake in. That’s not to say the film isn’t worth checking out. If you’re into your thought provoking chin-strokers then by all means, give it a go. It’s sure to scratch your indie-itch, just don’t expect it to do anything else.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.