Independent Film Festival Boston Day 2 & 3

Shannon O’Connor ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor-in-Chief
The second and third night of the Independent Film Festival Boston brought the screening of Fox Searchlight’s latest film The Way, Way Back, Prince Avalanche and A Hijacking.
The Way, Way Back
The Way, Way Back revolves around 14 year old Duncan (Liam James) who is forced to endure a summer at his mother’s (Toni Collette) new boyfriend Trent’s (Steve Carrell) summer beach house. At first impression, Duncan is extremely shy and introverted, however this impression changes when Duncan meets the fun and adventurous water park owner Owen (Sam Rockwell). Owen, through his charm and wit, is able to bring out a whole different and more confident side of Duncan.
Although Duncan is getting out of his shell, he remains powerless when it comes to protecting his mother from her jerk boyfriend (yes, this is probably the only time Steve Carrell plays an unlikable character). As Duncan struggles with tough family issues, including the fact that his estranged father wants nothing to do with him, his neighbor Susanna (the charming AnnaSophia Robb) is also struggling with similar issues. Facing similar troubles, the two begin to form a friendship that only gets stronger as the problems get worse.
The Way, Way Back includes a brilliant performance by Liam James, who portrays Duncan’s transition from shy and introverted to fun and outgoing with incredible ease and authenticity. Sam Rockwell shines as the water park owner that eventually comes to be seen as a father figure for Duncan, learning how to grow up a little on the way. Allison Janney provides a great deal of comic relief as Trent’s wacky and talkative neighbor Betty. However, the strongest performance in the film is by AnnaSophia Robb as a girl working through a great deal of her problems, who leaves her “popular” lifestyle behind and befriends Duncan, who is someone she can actually share important things with.
While the film has a pretty typical story line, it’s the performances that set this film apart from other films of the same genre.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
[youtube] Prince Avalanche
Prince Avalanche is a very interesting film. At its core Prince Avalanche is a film about the unlikely friendship that grows between a middle-aged man, Alvin (Paul Rudd), and his girlfriend’s brother, Lance (Emile Hirsch), during their time spent working on an isolated highway in the middle of the woods in the summer of 1988.
The film, complete with gorgeous scenery, explores love and friendship as the two men often find themselves at odds with each other and their significant others at home. Alvin in the beginning is a straight-laced work – alcoholic who provides for his girlfriend and her daughter. However, in the end Alvin adopts some of the fun loving ways of Lance, while also providing Lance with some important life tips along the way.
Prince Avalanche will leave you thinking about the true point of film hours after the credits roll, but it is a solid piece of entertainment including great performances by Rudd and Hirsch.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
[youtube] A Hijacking
In this Danish thriller, audiences get a behind-the-scenes look at what it was like for both the crew on a Somalian pirate hijacked cargo ship and the businessmen negotiating their safe return.
The suspense of this film draws audiences in and never lets them go. From the intense sequences of life on the hijacked boat and the dangers the crew faced for the 127 days they were held captive to the extreme pressure put on the CEO of the company to get his men home safely.
The dangerous life on the ship is brilliantly embodied by Pilou Asbæk, who plays the ship’s cook, Mikkel, with a wife and young child whom he is desperately trying to get home to. Despite Asbæk’s fantastic performance, the best performance of the film was by Søren Malling, who played Peter C. Ludvigsen the CEO of the company whose ship was hijacked. Malling does a phenomenal job in depicting the high amounts of stress and guilt that is put on the person negotiating with the hijackers. For the beginning part of the film Ludvigsen is a very stoic and put together man, however as the film progress, the stakes rise and the negotiations intensify audiences see his emotions start to seep through his tough exterior. The moments in the film where his character begins to unravel are extremely powerful, as the audience is shown that the hardship and stress of the hijacking is not only prevalent amongst the men on the hijacked ship, but also with the men back home trying to negotiate their safe return.
A Hijacking is a very powerful film that will keep you on the edge of your seat all throughout the film.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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