Memory Lane is set in a strange world where very little makes sense. Nick (Michael Guy Allen) meets troubled Kayla (Meg Barrick) when she’s about to commit suicide, they have sex in his car, she steals the car but it’s ok because they’ve fallen in love. Soon after, as a young romance blossoms, Kayla commits suicide and Nick starts electrocuting himself so he can visit her in his memories and figure out the circumstance of her death.
From the outset, the film is messy and incoherent. The writing sees flat characters do ridiculously unjustified things which leave every action in the film soulless. The romance at the heart of the story has no ground in reality, with Kayla switching from sure-fire self-destruction to mischievous sex-kitten within moments of meeting Nick. After this there’s almost no dialogue between the two, and two modes of behaviour: sex and jogging – which ends in outdoor sex anyways.
Characters are loud and shouty, misinterpreting which emotion corresponds to which scene. Random fights break out between Nick and his friends, Nick waves a gun around for a bit, Nick’s friend knows how to make a bath tub death device with light bulbs hovering over it. It’s all very strange. Saying that, the bath-Inception device actually has the capacity to look cool, and if a little more time had been spent exploring its origins then it could have had that whole Primer vibe going on.
The whole script reeks of inexperience, only vaguely joining the dots between increasingly vague narrative strands. But that’s a mess the editing has to account for. The cutting of the film is confuddling and ultimately pushes the already wonky narrative further into obscurity. There’s a lot of cross-editing, and fast-paced cutting, but it’s all to distract from the fact the camera work is childishly skewed. Numerous shots slide on the tripod, attempting perhaps to hit documentary style realism but instead merely making the film seem like a prolonged home movie from someone only slightly interested in their craft.
Imagine a film where the director told the actors to act like they didn’t understand human emotion. Not a bad idea for an experimental piece, but here it just makes the film look increasingly out of hand. The actors all surrender to moments of indulgent melodramatic overacting, shouting out random lines, holding their heads, looking sad, then- like the script- forgetting the gravity of what they are actually attempting to do. The sound is pretty bad with voices being often barely audible whilst the music is just plain dull and badly timed with the on-screen action. Put this together with the script, camera work, acting, and editing and you got yourself a sure-fire mess.
It makes for disconcerting viewing when the audience realises that they are watching a feature only barely meriting the title “film”. There’s a very haphazard quality to the whole production, from sound to camera work, acting to story, and everything in-between. Memory Lane is an unthoughtful and ill-devised feature.
Dir: Shawn Holmes
Stars:Michael Guy Allen, Meg Braden, Julian Curi