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The Independent Critic

Written and Directed by
Joe Burke
Jake Siegel, Abby Wathen, Josh Heine
Running Time
21 Mins.

 "Nice Knowing You" Review 

An AFI Graduate Thesis film for director Joe Burke ("Coop's Night In"), "Nice Knowing You" follows Scotty (Jake Siegel), Zach (Josh Heine) and Leah (Abby Wathen) as they pack up their lives for life after college graduation. What easily could have been a melodramatic and predictable story is instead an involving and heartbreakingly realistic look into the lives of three young adults preparing to say "Nice knowing you!" as they move onto a new chapter in their lives.

What begins as a quiet night of boxing away cherished memories quickly turns into an evening of adventure, discovery, confession, laughter and intimacy. One would think that with a mere 21-minute running time that "Nice Knowing You" would have to rush through its plot points and dramatic goodbyes, but Burke wisely chooses to allow empty spaces to exist within the dialogue that are filled by silence and glances, body language and that awkwardness that always exists when one doesn't know how to say what one must say.

Burke's patient approach works because the excellent ensemble cast seems to innately understand the dialogue going on underneath the words, most notably in the poignant scenes between Abby Wathen's Leah and Jake Siegel's Scotty as they fumble around truths that have never been spoken.

Filmed beautifully by cinematographer Ricardo Diaz and featuring a nicely complementary original soundtrack with tunes by J.J. Reed and the Order of the Spur along with Darynyck, "Nice Knowing You" feels like the kind of film that is birthed out of genuine life experiences, tender and true.

Having had its debut at the American Film Institute in June 2009, "Nice Knowing You" is currently on the film festival circuit.