Nicole Lucca ‘19/Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Imagine remotely interacting with some kind of illegal activity. Most people pass by drug usage or crimes during their routine daily activities without notice or consequence. Now imagine potentially being sent to jail for this disconnected association for 28 years. This concept is the framework for Evan’s Crime, a genre-less independent film whose central focus is a twenty year old kid—shockingly named Evan— (Douglas Smith) from Louisiana who by a coincidental turn of events is accused of drug distribution and put on trial for up to 28 years in prison.
The primary antagonist is a lawyer named Frank Coleman (David Arquette) whose charming Southern accent and unexplained hatred for Evan propels the plot into motion. The movie lacks a central focus, hopping between courtroom scenes, local band concerts, make outs, and jail time. However, the story is quick paced and rarely exhausting. Smith’s performance is natural and less irritating than a distressed teenager could potentially be. The cinematography relies on warm tones and, while mismatched, is appealing to watch.
Since the plot is based on an overreaction in the legal system for minor possession of marijuana—which many of the characters acknowledge throughout the film—the film is disjunctive in the message it wishes to send. Out of place riddle-filled voice over narrates how “everyone has a purpose.” Yet this statement is never touched upon in the world the characters interact in. The film is often disorienting due to visceral handheld camerawork and abrupt editing, but does not make for an unbearable viewing experience.
Following the screening, the director (Sandy Tung) stated, “the emotional journey and arc of Evan’s character was the most crucial piece for me as a director.” Despite the intense circumstances Evan is thrown into—from death to heartbreak to false accusations—there is little to passionately care about. Every aspect of the film is just short of well done, and while it would not prompt any extreme disgust, it does not evoke elated praise either.
Although this film will likely not produce crowds or collect accolades, it is a sizeable step forward for a strong young cast with a larger message than precautionary marijuana usage.
Overall Grade: C+