Incompleteness, Part 1 Image

Incompleteness, written and directed by Dave Ash, tells three interconnected stories. The main throughline is that of the dying Alex (Matt Bailey). After learning that his cancer has returned, more aggressive than before, Alex quits his news editing job to make his dream of directing a movie a reality. This exhausts his savings, much to Jodi’s (Bethany Ford Binkley), his very pregnant wife, chagrin. While she’s trying to be supportive, all Alex does is edit the narrative film and a documentary he plans on leaving his soon-to-be-born son.

Paul (Clarence Wethern), Alex’s friend and screenwriter (of the movie within the movie), is having trouble getting to the root of the characters he has created. To get out of his apartment, he frequents a coffee shop and becomes smitten with the barista Kayla (Katie Willer). He finally works up the nerve to ask her out, and she agrees. Paul is honest, possibly to a fault, telling Kayla all about how an unscrupulous Chinese business is after him for bolting with critical work. She confides in him about her desire to make music, and soon enough, these two are falling in love.

After learning that his cancer has returned…Alex quits his…job to make his dream of directing a movie a reality.”

The third interwoven narrative is that of the lead actors of the movie being produced. Emily (Christine Weber) and John (Juan Rivera LeBron) meet during shooting and get on well, so they decide to go on a real date. While it is a bit awkward, they have a good time together and keep seeing each other off set.

This makes Incompleteness sound far more straightforward and simple than it is. See, Ash imbues the script for his series’s first episode (more on that later) with a branching narrative style a la Run Lola Run without a proper reset. So, some scenes seem to replay with slight tweaks, such as a new location but retaining the same dialogue. Other sequences, such as the entirety of Paul and Kayla’s relationship in a wonderful, dialogue-free montage, hint at the joy and heartbreak that potentially lies ahead for these characters.

When these recurrences first happen, it is a bit off-putting. While Paul talks to Alex, at length, about how all these different “nows” mean that you are not actually in control of your thoughts and actions, it is not until a bit later that the repeats happen. As it is unexpected, it proves to be a bit jarring. While a bit of a disorienting effect was presumably intended, it does take the viewer out of the moment, which was probably not on purpose. But, once Incompleteness settles into a groove, it is a very entertaining watch.

Incompleteness Part 1 (2020)

Directed and Written: Dave Ash

Starring: Matt Bailey, Bethany Ford Binkley, Clarence Wethern, Katie Willer, Christine Weber, Juan Rivera LeBron, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Incompleteness Part 1 Image

"…a branching narrative style a la Run Lola Run without a proper reset."

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