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The Independent Critic

Jeremy Banks, Robert Azevedo, Craig Berube, Richard Binkowski, Rosanna Campbell
Christian de Rezendes
102 Mins. 
Film Threat


 "Getting Out of Rhode Island" a Humble Beginning 
 Having caught on to the work of Rhode Island based filmmaker Christian de Rezendes a couple years back when I checked out his excellent documentary 41, it was with both excitement and a bit of trepidation that I accepted the opportunity to catch one of his earliest films. Getting out of Rhode Island is an improvisational experiment film that was shot on the night of November 17th, 2001 followed by a successful festival run and distribution by Film Threat. 

You know that you're in for a bit of a chuckle when you check out the DVD's well designed cover and your eyes instantly gravitate towards multiple typos and misspellings. While the packaging is quality, with a wealth of extras not often provided for independent films, there's also a sense of low-level professionalism that's not exactly uncommon among low-budget indies. The film, almost instantly, reveals just how far Christian de Rezendes has come as a filmmaker. 

The film centers around Jacob (Robert Merrifield), an acclaimed actor who returns to his Rhode Island home tot ry and get his life under control. A former friend and now foe, Morgan Stipe (Jeremy Banks), takes this opportunity to throw the actor a "Welcome Home" party with the ulterior motive of elevating his own rep as a wannabe filmmaker. Nothing really goes as planned, of course, and the night becomes filled with tales of old love, deception, networking, sexual carelessness, karate and much more. 

Not surprisingly, Getting Out of Rhode Island feels spontaneous and trippily incohesive. At times, the film is rather dizzying with the sights and sounds of the gathering getting a tad overwhelming and the humor becoming a rather hit-and-miss affair. 

Getting Out of Rhode Island was winner of Best Feature and Best Director at Black Point Film Festival while also being a Grand Jury Nominee for Best Feature Dramedy at the 2003 Bare Bones International Film Festival. The film was also a nominee for Best Feature at he 2002 DIY Film Festival. 

The film looks and feels low budget, though the film's grainy photography actually works fairly well with the improvisational nature of the film. On the plus side, the film does feature a fun and memorable soundtrack from Sean Fullerton. 

It would likely take me a good amount of weed to actually recommend Getting Out of Rhode Island, though I can imagine it being quite popular on the microcinema film festival and even amidst its many flaws you can see the patient and disciplined filmmaker that Christian de Rezendes was to become. 

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic