Ah yes, the quiet streets of New York at night. That’s where Aaron Katz’s excellent film “Quiet City” takes place. What’s that you say? The streets of New York are anything but quiet? Well, don’t tell Katz that or young Charlie (Lankenau) or Jamie (Fisher) the two leads in the film. To them New York, or specifically Brooklyn, is a small, quiet place perfectly primed for two people to get to know each other.
The film kind of plays like a “Before Sunrise” or “Before Sunset” type of film but without the time lock. Jamie has come to New York to hang out with her flaky friend, but as flaky friends are prone to do, she never shows up thus leaving Jamie alone in the city. In the vacant subway station, Jamie strikes up a conversation with Charlie and away we go on a big screen adventure of normal sized proportions. While I am admittedly getting a little tired of the new indie generation of DV Cassavette’s style filmmakers, “Quiet City” has a lot of charm and the cinematography by Andy Reed is really gorgeous. I love the way the film mixed bright colors of the city alongside outdoor shots of natural beauty. There’s also some great shots of flashing lights and natural lighting that give the film a feeling of movement.
In order for such a small film like this to work, you have to kind of fall in love with the leads and both Fisher and Lankenau make that easy to do. While it’s sort of a tough sell to believe that these two characters would hit if off and kind of, give each other over to the other you forget about that as the night and the next day wear on. People meet every day and feel a connection and that’s normal. Yet here you are really pulling for Charlie and Jamie to fall in love. Both are sort of lost souls that seem to have found something in the other that sparks them. There’s also some great scenes involving the two at parties where outsiders who know them divulge information and kind of rain on their tea party for two. Charlie and Jamie’s relationship at first exists only between the two of them but when other people are added in character flaws and a sense of reality sink in and it’s uncomfortable. But that’s life, it’s not always perfect.
“Quiet City” is a really nice movie. The characters are interesting and I really felt Erin Fisher has a strong screen presence, even though she’s fairly low key in this role. Cris Lankenau is also really good even though at first I had a tough time warming up to his Brooklyn slacker/chic style. This is the second feature of Katz’s I’ve seen (“Dance Party USA” was the other) and I really dig his visual style. It’s sparse and simple but also colorful and interesting. Even though I said I’m getting a little worn out on the new, talky indie films I’ll save a little space for Katz’s next feature which I can’t wait to see.