First time writer and director Mark Lewis crafts a very honest slice of life story in BAYSTATE BLUES. The flick follows an eventful day in the life of married couple Mike and Devon (played by Scott Lewis and Allyson Sereboff). Devon is a woman looking for more in her life six months after surviving a horrific car accident while her husband, a contractor seems content in the life he leads, accepting of his station in society. The movie follows them from breakfast, through Mike’s workday, and then on to their small get-together with Devon’s sisters Virginia and Alex later that evening.
The film starts out somewhat slow, much like real life. After the characters and the audience have had an opportunity to get their morning coffee however, we start to see the real conflict in this drama. Ultimately this story seems to be about second chances. Whether it is Devon’s second chance at life and wanting to make the best of it, to her sister Virginia’s second chance at love with a man she had previously humiliated and dumped. Every bit of conflict in this story is a blessing in disguise for the characters, giving them new opportunities to redefine themselves or discover new feelings they didn’t know they had.
Mark has a great ability to capture emotion on film. His actors and actresses feel natural. Much of the dialogue seems like conversations I’ve either overhead before or had myself. The locations are beautiful (much of the film was shot in Massachusetts), and the lighting is done well. The sound design had a couple of flaws when it came to a few of the actors lines, and the musical parts seemed a little loud, but overall the soundtrack fit well with the movie and the rest of it sounded great as well. The cinematography at times was a little off (some of the close-up shots were done a little too close, and some shots that looked handheld might have been better done using a glidecam or jib setup)
This movie’s small cast makes it easy for everyone to find something to do, and the director makes a good attempt of not leaving anyone out of the story. The characters, especially the three sisters, felt very fleshed out and real. Showing us Mike at his job makes his character more well rounded as well. Sometimes characters are off screen and they just kind of disappear. It is good to see that the director decided to show us his day job rather than just talk about it. It also made for a good contrast to what Devon was doing with her day. Speaking of pacing, as stated before the movie starts off a little slow, but by the time the small party starts that evening, the viewer is ready for the culmination of the plot.
As far as dramas go, this movie does well. Convincing drama is hard to do. Most people think that if you just get your characters to act emotional, that equals drama. It’s another thing to actually GET your actors and actresses emotional, and then you create the drama. And that is something Mark Lewis does well in this film.
BAYSTATE BLUES Review
FILM SYNOPSIS - "What do you think of when you hear the term 'small town America'? Chances are if you're on the Conservative Right, you think of a Norman Rockwell utopia. If you're on the Liberal Left you think of a haven for the brain dead redneck NASCAR fans. As with most things the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. This is a story of the truth."