Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Director, Jeremiah Kipp for allowing me early access to an online screener of his 15 minute, Drama short “Pickup”, Written by Jessica Blank. Pickup shows a day in the life of bored mother and housewife, Megan (played by Mandy Evans). Her constant desire for some form of tangibility has led her astray on more than one occasion in her marriage to husband, Ben (played by “The Wire’s” Jim True-Frost), a driven business man. With young son Liam to take care of (Griffin Robert Faulkner) and a need to feel something, anything at all, her carefully constructed web might just come unstuck. The film also stars Elena McGhee and Christopher Piccione. I initially reviewed a few of Kipp’s short films back in 2014, but haven’t heard about much from him since. “Painkiller”, “The Minions” and “Berenice” aka “Creepers” were the three that I was sent *see reviews* https://adamthemoviegod.com/painkiller-the-minions-berenice-review/. As a whole, I thought each were pretty well made and now that Jeremiah’s had plenty more experience (something like 35 credits), I was interested to see what his latest had to offer.
At its core, Blank’s script is a psychological drama about a mother and wife whose grown tired of the daily grind. Megan lives quite a comfortable life financially speaking, but it’s anything but comfortable when it comes to her emotional state. I really like that Blank is willing to stop dead in its tracks that whole misconception of money equates to happiness. How many times do we hear about personal struggles with actors, musicians, athletes? The list goes on and it’s far too frequent to be passed of as just an anomaly. Megan resorts to adultery in an attempt to fill the void in her life but I don’t think it’s out of spite, it comes from a place of loneliness and that will be relatable for some. Blank ties it all in with Megan’s ever-growing but spontaneous addiction, as well as delicately shining a light on the ease with which we can satisfy our urges thanks to technological advancements like social media. I’ll be the first to admit that those developments aren’t all good. Technology is often a distraction from one being present and in the moment, and we’re all guilty of failing that at least to some degree. Kipp’s DP (director of photography), Eric Giovon does a good job with the cinematography. There’s some gentle zooming in certain shots and everything is nicely framed. The highlight for me is where the camera moves with the shopping cart, that was effective. The audio levels are consistent and the score is made up of some smooth piano and bass. For a drama short there’s not a great deal of dialogue but the performances are all still quite good.
On the technical front there was only the one minor complaint I had. In one scene with Megan and Ben in the bedroom, there’s a couple of blurred lights that hit the frame momentarily and it’s a little distracting (probably happened due to the lighting position). In hindsight, the brief sequence in the local bar was somewhat inconsequential, given Megan’s waiting for someone and her addictive personality has already been made quite clear from the outset. I know that it probably acts as a lead in to the final scene of the film but I think it slows the pacing down just a fraction. Ben annoyed me simply because he was so oblivious toward picking up on any of Megan’s signs. Men as a whole are not very good at the attention to detail part, but he in particular failed to read any of her body language, so is often the way, but that was frustrating as a viewer (though not technically a flaw with the film).
Pickup sees Jeremiah foray into something completely drama based, which I haven’t seen him do before. Jessica Blank’s script has shades of Steve McQueen’s “Shame” about it, with its neat handling of addiction and depression. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of the technology theme and how that figures into modern-day life. It’s a well shot, well acted film with a nice moody score. I think perhaps one or two moments could have been cut to shorten the run time (the bar scene comes to mind) and Ben made for a frustrating character, though one true to life. I’m not sure if there’s value to be gained in multiple viewings but this is an important one watch for a multitude of people, especially those detached from their own lives and those around them as well as anyone that’s having a hard time coping.
My rating for “Pickup” is 7.5/10