Palm trees and power lines

Palm trees and power lines
Original title:Palm trees and power lines
Director:Jamie Dack
Running time:114 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
A disconnected teenager enters into a relationship with a man twice her age. She sees him as the solution to all her problems, but his intentions are not what they seem.

Mulder's Review

"The backdrop of Lea's world is palm trees, power lines, shopping malls, chain restaurants, neon signs and the runway near her house. Every passing plane reminds her of how stuck she is. This image connects the audience to Lea's physical world and acts as a window into her emotional life." - Jamie Dack

Winner of the Jury Prize, Palm Trees and Power Lines is indeed one of the pleasant surprises of this 48th American Film Festival. Carried by the inspired interpretation of the young actress Lily McInerny and Jonathan Tucker (Parenthood, Kingdom, Debris, Westworld).

Lea (Lily McInerny) is a teenage girl left to her own devices with a mother more concerned with finding a new husband than listening to her. Her encounter with Tom (Jonathan Tucker), twice her age, takes an unexpected turn when he reveals his true self.  Co-written and directed by Jamie Dack who signs here her first film by adopting her short film, Palm trees and power lines imposes itself as a sensual thriller in which a young heroine is going to find herself under the influence of a notorious pimp who sees her as a simple means to make money by using her feelings to manipulate her.

The director Jamie Dack seems to understand easily that the story is not of a crazy originality so it's all about the way to tell it but also to find the best possible approach in each shot. His work with his director of photography Chananun Chotrungroj and his editor Christopher Radcliff proves to be relevant and thus transforms the story into a bewitching film and especially on this youth wishing to crunch life to the full without worrying about the risks emanating.

Lea seems to want to escape from her daily life and the fact that in the city where she lives there is little hope that her future will flourish. Although she suspects that Tom's attentions to her are not entirely forthcoming, she allows herself to be seduced and sees in him a way to have a second start in her life. Unfortunately, where fairy tales come true, sad reality takes over and this film leaves us with a note of great sadness.

Certainly the subject is not new in itself, but the director was able to impose a true director's eye on a youth in loss of moral reference and unaware of the danger that can bring ill-attentional people. By breaking his too smooth image, the actor Jonathan Tucker delivers here one of his best interpretations. The film is partly based on his character and his unhealthy character, the director Jamie Dack knew perfectly how to emphasize the fragility and the evolution of the young Lea. 

As her relationship with Tom grows, she begins to lie to her mother, her best friend and willingly gets caught in a trap that we feel coming as small details surprise us. The end of the film risks to provoke the discontent of some spectators because the director avoids any real happy ending and makes triumph the evil and the fatal hold of Tom on Lea.

Palm trees and power lines
Directed by Jamie Dack
Produced by Leah Chen Baker, Jamie Dack
Written by Jamie Dack, Audrey Findlay
Based on Palm Trees and Power Lines by Jamie Dack
Starring Lily McInerny, Jonathan Tucker, Gretchen Mol
Cinematography : Chananun Chotrungroj
Edited by Christopher Radcliff
Production companies : Fiesta Island Films, Neon Heart Productions
Release date : January 24, 2022 (Sundance)
Running time : 114 minutes

Seen on September 8, 2022 at the Deauville international center

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