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Chepachet (2007)

DVD Cover (Celebrity Video Distribution)
Director:
Ken Kushner Ken Kushner
Starring:
James Crafford James Crafford
Arune Kital Arune Kital
Ken Coughlin Ken Coughlin
Linda Myers Linda Myers
Stavellie Salomon Stavellie Salomon

7.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Drama, Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama
The story concerns two middle-aged old friends, Cole and Lud, who have been recovering from a horrible car crash caused by the alcoholism of Lud. Two years later they employ a very beautiful, though mentally challenged maid named Karen who comes from a home for troubled young girls run by Mrs. Ware, a Bible teacher. Cole develops a platonic crush on Karen and finds her inspirational in his work as a nature photographer while Lud sexually abuses her in secret. Darlene, Cole's ex-girl friend, who hasn't seen him since their break up just before the car crash, arrives with the purpose of reuniting with Cole and becomes a witness to the tragic events about to unfold. --IMDb
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Review by Ginose
Added: February 15, 2010
Well, I'm not a terribly huge fan of the theatre, I hate to say. Sure, I've seen many a stage production in my time, and I'm nowhere NEAR above accepting a well-told story as anything less than that, no matter how I've seen it, be it stage, book or screen. No, it's really just the fact t hat a theatre is always variable to this that or the other, different performances, character interpretations, hell, things as trivial as lighting can retell the whole story. That much spontaneity can only be made up for by how much difference can improve a polished production, but that sort of thing is almost always a 50/50 shot.

So, I'd never heard, read or even considered anything about the story "Chepachet", written by James Crafford, and only decided to review it based solely on the promise of the story; this meant that I also had no knowledge of the actors, model or filmmakers involved in it. Any plot with so much promise, however, is easily enough to make me turn my head and pop-it-in.

What I got was a low-budget adaptation that not only complimented any and every thought I had going in, but easily took every notion I had previously associated with b-budget dramas and ripped them to shreds. In short: "Chepachet" is an excellent piece of indie filmmaking.

After a horrible car-accident two years prior, middle-aged drunkard Lud and his friend Cole are living a stoic, tired life in Chepachet, Rhode Island, trying to regain the time they lost after the accident. Cole continues his work as a photographer, focusing on the beautiful nature around them, and all the more inspired by their housekeeper Karen, a beautiful young girl from the local Catholic girl's-home, both simple and having a horrible speech-impediment, but her presence alone inspires him in ways that he had never felt before. Lud, on the other-hand, tries to piece his new life through nothing but drinking and trying to keep himself from going over the edge, feeling more broken than ever before, even more-so in seeing how content Cole is in this new life, feeling nothing but contempt for Karen and what she's brought to their life.

The more obvious it is that his life is coming together, the more horrible the blows that come into his life from his past and from his new existence are, shaking both the already practically dissolved friendship between he and Lud and the bit of happiness he has found in his new life and his dependence on Karen.

Now, I can't go about and compare it to any other adaptation of the story, because I don't know any, but this was a remarkably driving and well-told character-study that shows the deepest pits of resentment and unresolved pains in the human heart. The performances cementing everything in a perfect shape, with every scene holding the same pain that each character was putting themselves through, between Cole's obsession and Lud's contempt for everything their lives had become, it was thicker than I could ever have thought to give it all credit for.

The writing was all very-well realized, however I couldn't help but get t he feeling that t he final production left out some important moments, it left the whole thing feeling rather disjointed in the end, even connecting some scenes and back-story along with a whole character that shared almost n o relevance whatsoever in the final draw of it all. This was annoying as hell, it didn't break the whole production, but it made a lot of shit seem totally fucking irrelevant, which, by the way, can piss a viewer off more than just having a bunch of loose ends to tie-up or a shorter running time.

The visual style was gorgeous, but that may have just come with the choice of location, that shouldn't matter, I suppose, but it certainly makes you realize how much is actually going on, visual-wise, as it develops. Unlike an adaptation like "Bug" this one truly does feel like it is, and should be, just a stage-play. That's fine, you know, it being a film that works like a stage-production really doesn't take away the ACTUAL film qualities it has, but it sure can make one wish they'd scene the production in motion beforehand.

I hate to give such ridiculous praise to such a simple adaptation of a simple story, but on the levels it works on, it succeeds and goes beyond what I could have expected. It's one of the best archetypical character-studies I've seen on film and would happily advise it to anyone looking for a good drama, independent or not.

8.5/10.
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