The Conway Curve - Film Review

By Bill Garry

The Conway Curve
, an ambitious new indie from a Texas-based team, provides both the pleasures and the pitfalls of an independent film.

Led by director, producer, and co-writer Marian Yeager, the film goes the way a lot of independent movies go. In the pleasure column: outstanding talent, charming locations and beautiful cinematography, editing and sound. In the pitfall column: disjointed script, "opportunity" casting and a wildly uneven tone.

Despite an Audrey Hepburn-esque heroine (a thoroughly beguiling Veronica Wylie), this is no frothy adventure. The saga of the Conway family -- heroine Natalie, older brother Luke, dad Roger and mom Donna -- is interspersed with playground trauma, father/son tensions and creepy older-brother manipulations.

The script, co-written by Yeager and Richard Dane Scott, veers from soap opera to rom-com to crime thriller to Murder She Wrote to an I Love Lucy episode (Lucy and Viv shadow a criminal). The plot follows Natalie as she gets sidetracked from turning the family home (after Mom and Dad die) into a boarding house when selfish brother Luke turns up in need of money. In the course of the film, Natalie gets mugged, meets cute and gets abused by lawyers, bank execs and FBI agents. In the end, she is either the victim of, or mastermind behind, some financial and criminal shenanigans.

The film seriously suffers from "movie" logic, as opposed to "real life" logic. Some examples: Characters knowledgeable in the collectible coin market aren't in fact knowledgeable. An inept criminal who walks around town saying "hello" to everyone is somehow unknown and invisible to law enforcement. A woman in dire financial trouble takes the time to "meet cute" and have a fun weekend. When Dad gets sick and dies, mom conveniently gets written off as dead, too. To be fair, indies don't usually have the time or deep pockets for script development, re-shoots, and re-casts. The Conway Curve's cast, however, does give their best as they play on the court.

Jason Looney, as a 19-ish Young Luke, handles his scenes with little sister Natalie (a solid McKoy Musser) well, balancing creepiness with brotherly love. Casper Van Dien brings serious chops to his small role as their father. (I think he was a little too action-star rugged to play a coin-collecting dad, but he is, after all, Casper Van Dien.)

After a 20-year jump in the action, a new cast takes over, led by grown up Natalie (Wylie) and an older Luke (Bradley Snedeker). Snedeker gives a sincerely menacing performance, but is nothing in looks or demeanor like the actor who played Luke as a younger man.

Charlie Bodin as Norman, the wise, yet cute, romantic distraction, and Sonny Valicenti as Nick Davenport, the sleazy, yet nutty villain, do their best to hold together the wildly disparate scenes they are in. Hayden Tweedie, as hoodlum/best friend Alice, charismatically provides Natalie with her shoulder, and fists, to lean on.

WhileThe Conway Curve has a lot of laughable lapses in storytelling, Yeager's vision of small-town dreamers and grifters does come through. She seems ready to handle her next Texas-sized film.

Catch the special engagement screenings at Arena Cinelounge Sunset opening July 28 and showing through August 3.

Posted By Discover Hollywood on July 24, 2017 01:48 pm | Permalink