All of us had that group of friends in high school or college. They are the group of people that you believed you would know and be around the rest of your life. They were your inseparable mates who always had your back, and you always had theirs. And the high school or college ended, and then life really started to kick in and stated pushing everyone in different directions. Some people you stayed in touch with while other ones are nothing more than a distant memory. Some of them are successful and have made something of themselves, and some of them are just stuck. This is the basis for director Ely Mennin’s film THE WATERHOLE.
The story crafted by first-time screenwriter Nathan Cole flows as freely as the beer taps at Corrigan’s, the bar in which much of this story takes place. While the film does have a little too much head on it sometimes, and loses a bit of focus (we could have done without the side story of Miller’s one night stand with the lady he chatted up at the bar, and their subsequent fight later on), but it finishes with a strong aftertaste of reality. The characters are robust and alive. We’ve all had a Miller (Patrick J. Adams) in our lives, or perhaps we are that character. Miller is the smart one in the group, but to scared of the real world to make anything of himself. Instead he resides in the safety of the bar, where his friends all hang out. But after a breakup with his girlfriend, and his roommate Jim’s (Jade Carter) recent engagement Miller has to decent where his life is going to go. It can either go down the toilet with last night’s lager, or he can pick himself up off the floor and go for another round of life.
THE WATERHOLE is shot very well with a sometimes grainy and washed out feel. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and could have been related to budget. However the movie is very dark, and it would have been nice for the director to throw a bit of extra light on his subjects. Since most of the movie takes place either indoors or at night, the low light levels really make it difficult to see any real detail on the character’s faces, or of the set itself (and the bar, Corrigan’s, is really done up well).
Acting is where this movie really delivers. The characters all act as if they’ve known each other for years, and really make you believe that there is a camaraderie and history between them. The male leads are not the only place where this movie gets it. Miller’s ex girlfriend Ashley (Rebecca Mozo) delivers her part well, reminding any audience what it feels like to be in a broken relationship and the emotions that come out of it. And while her character may not necessarily be considered a protagonist to Miller, she is one of the only things that can help him make his mind up to finally do something with him life.
Overall great film. Now pour me another!
THE WATERHOLE Review
FILM SYNOPSIS - At the end of their college years, Miller finds that he and his college buddies are growing apart as they choose different paths into the future. They are regulars at Murphy's, a popular watering hole of choice where Miller and Jim meet with their buddies and are free to vent, decompress, and talk about life.