Movie Review: …Around

…Around (2008)

“You know the charming guy in the movie with obstacles and the entire world on his back. Walks a line between redemption and oblivion. Constant shit thrown at him. He always does a heroic thing and rises above it all with a great, witty line while he saves the girl and comes out on top unexpectedly… I’m the coyote who falls of the cliff.” — Doyle Simms

“Embrace the fall.” Those are the first words you see on the screen when you watch “…Around,” a little NYC indie with a lot to say and a lead actor with enough charisma to make you want to hear it. The sage wisdom imparted on Doyle Simms is just what this guy with a me against the world attitude needs. It’s certainly uplifting to watch Doyle get back up after falling so far. His minor transformation is no small feat, which is why …Around is a film that could change people’s lives.

Doyle (Robert W. Evans) is a guy who says things that would get most people’s asses kicked, and his has been booted around quite a few times. Growing up in Jersey with an absentee father, a venomous mother, and legions of potential ass kickers meant the movies were a safer place for him. At 18, he has the motivation he needs to get the hell out of Jersey and go to film school in the New York City.

Things don’t go as he planned. When his financial aid doesn’t come through in year two, Doyle is left without a place to live. Instead of slinking back to Jersey to live with the mother (Berenice Mosca) who told him he would fail, Doyle becomes a permanent resident of New York’s Grand Central. It doesn’t take him long to get into a routine.

Soon Doyle begins to wonder whether he really deserves anything more than his hard knock life. Even when he pursues Allyson (Molly Ryman), a girl who, it turns out, is willing to care for him, Doyle can’t let her in. Worse, his struggle to exist keeps him from completing his thesis project. It’s not until he finally hits bottom that he’s able to see just how important Allyson and the other people around are.

Doyle isn’t exactly a different person at the end of the film. He wouldn’t be Doyle if he made some miraculous change. And he’s the kind of cinephile who would know that ending was total bull anyway.

That’s more than half of the film’s appeal. As Doyle, Evans is magnetic. His lone wolf swagger and an almost innate ability to exhibit Doyle’s acerbic charm make him fully-formed character who is worth rooting for.

To have someone like Evans in the lead role makes a film that could so easily have been broken. But like it’s protagonist, …Around is alluring because it’s smart and a little rough around the edges. It’s not quite an Alan Ball black comedy, but it has that combined sense of humor and humanity that puts it within striking distance.

Writer/director David Spaltro’s first feature manages to be both entertaining and affecting, a rarity when it comes to indies. More so than even watching Doyle, just getting to experience a film so small succeed in such a big way is inspiring. Sure, Spaltro may have sent me the …Around DVD, but I know I’ll seek out the next Spaltro picture.

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