One

on January 01, 1998 by Tim Cogshell
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   Though "One" is clearly influenced by such films as Bertolucci's "The Conformist" and Kieslowski's "Red," debuting director Tony Barbieri has crafted something unique. The story follows lifelong friends Charlie (Jason Cairns) and Nick (Kane Picoy) as they reach points in their lives where something must change, and the choices they make will take them on very different paths. Charlie is just out of prison, apparently for euthanizing his elderly grandfather. He comes to live with Nick at the home of Nick's parents, who seem a good deal more enamored of Charlie than they are of their own son. Nick is an indifferent ex-baseball player. Once a hot prospect, he ruined it all by punching his minor league manager. Now he's a garbage man. Though they do have a genuine affection for each other, the two young men are merely going through the motions of their relationship. It's a powerful dynamic captured in the film by Barbieri and director of photography Matt Irving's visual style. The camera is distant, as are the characters from each other and everything around them. Scenes are often shot through doorways or with the characters framed from the rear, and they seldom cover any moment with more than a single set-up. It's appropriately disheartening.

   In a bid to change his fortune, Charlie strikes out in new directions. He enrolls in a community college and diligently performs required community service. He even falls for the social worker, Sara (Autumn Macintosh), whom he's assigned to assist delivering medical supplies. Nick, on the other hand, feels ever more detached. His father will not let him forget what he lost, and even the prospect of a second chance looms like a potential new failure rather than the possibility for redemption. The weighty "One" marks the introduction of several new talents, particularly the director and his two leads.    Starring Jason Cairns, Kane Picoy, Paul Herman and Autumn Macintosh. Directed by Tony Barbieri. Written by Tony Barbieri and Jason Cairns. Produced by Wendy Cary. A Shooting Gallery Release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 85 min.

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