Zoe.Misplaced is quite an achievement for a film made by a crew of around 15 people and a budget of only around 8,000 bucks. Although it’s not finely polished, as one would expect from a low-budget film, it is still a captivating movie and one that suggests a great future for up-and-coming filmmaker Mekelle Mills.
Zoe (Hannah Raven Smith) is a gay, mid-twenties, Sydneyite whose routine student life of parties and essays is turned around after she meets Nat (Clementine Mills). Zoe must make a difficult choice between her best-friend and new flame however, as Nat happens to be the ex-girlfriend of her roommate Coal (Kaska Zielinski). Zoe.Misplaced is an intriguing, warming and sometimes heart-rending love story that follows the twists and turns of a blossoming relationship.
Although the acting in this film seems a little flat at times, it is obvious that the actors (and crew) had a good time making it. There are bits and pieces that seemed a bit heavily scripted and lifeless, but some shining moments, such as interactions between Zoe and Coal, make up for it.
Clementine Mills is an understated yet charming actress, adding a lot of energy and a slight bit of quirkiness to the film. Smith is also great in her own way, but remains a little subdued throughout. All performers, however, did a good job in presenting an honest, almost scarily accurate view of real life for urban twenty-somethings.
Zoe.Misplaced feels very much like a documentary in a lot of scenes, mainly due to the filming and recording equipment that the crew had to make do with. Watching it almost feels like stepping into the houses of real people, which helps us connect with the characters on a pretty deep level. There is nothing flashy or spectacular about Zoe.Misplaced, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Unfortunately, the film does drag on quite a bit, and a long sequence focusing on Zoe and Nat buying an apartment probably didn’t need to make it into the film. In general, it’s pretty safe to say that a lot of material could be cut in order to make the film a little snappier, though these quiet sequences do give you a good chance to explore the relationships between characters.
Despite a few instances of poor editing and camera-work, Zoe.Misplaced is actually very well shot, and scrubs up quite well as a completed film. It’s a shame that the crew had to work on such a small budget, as it is obvious that Mekelle Mills knows how to make great films. I hope to see some absolutely awesome things coming out under her name in the future!
Zoe.Misplaced is a great little Aussie film that is moving, fascinating and also pretty heart breaking. It captures the drama of real life and presents it in a beautiful, lovingly crafted fashion.
The Adelaide premiere of Zoe.Misplaced kei will screen at 1.30pm on Sunday 6 July 2014 at the Mercury Cinema. Tickets are available from the Feast office, through FeastTix online or phone 8463 0684, or at the door if not sold out.
Reviewed by James Rudd
Rating out of 10: 6