South Of Hope Street Image

South Of Hope Street

By Bobby LePire | April 18, 2024

South Of Hope Street, written and directed by Jane Spencer, stands out for its unconventional approach. It’s not your typical plot-driven film but rather a dramatic science fiction mystery that offers a unique viewing experience. The overall vibe can be likened to Brazil but with a less exaggerated tone. Only one question remains: does this inherent strangeness captivate viewers, or does it leave them feeling indifferent?

Denise (Tanna Frederick) is in a constant struggle. Her roommate is evicting her from a small corner of the apartment to make room for a new companion. Denise’s love for poetry and her choice of footwear are hindering her job prospects. She also refuses to take the anti-nausea medicine that could ease her discomfort in this strange world. But the most distressing part is that only Denise can see the catastrophe in the sky. However, Tom (Judd Nelson) and a small group of others might have discovered a way to escape this chaotic universe where loyalties and motives can shift unpredictably.

Denise’s love for poetry and her choice of footwear are hindering her job prospects.”

The visual aspects of South Of Hope Street are a feast. The majority of the film is in vibrant color, but a few scenes are in black & white, adding a distinct touch. The color cinematography in the cityscape has a gritty feel, mirroring the underlying grime of even the most polished and shiny surfaces. In contrast, the black & white sequences offer a sense of solace and unity, radiating warmth. Director of photography Frank Glencarin’s work impeccably captures Denise’s moods throughout the film.

Frederick’s portrayal of the well-meaning but confused Denise is a standout. One moment, she’s pleading with someone to stay on their couch. In the next, she’s throwing a book at them. The actor’s performance makes both emotions make total sense. Nelson’s calm demeanor helps all watching begin to piece together the mystery of what this universe is and how it got like this. Michael Madsen is his usual charming but odd persona as Benjamin Flowers. He manages to elicit the biggest laugh in the film not quite halfway through.

South Of Hope Street feels like a hazy dream: the specifics are hard to recall or make sense of, but the experience is something new, unexpected, and most welcome. The cast is good, the movie looks incredible, and the thematic elements at play are intriguingly used. So sit down, prop up your feet, and take it all in.

South Of Hope Street (2024)

Directed and Written: Jane Spencer

Starring: Tanna Frederick, Judd Nelson, Michael Madsen, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

South Of Hope Street Image

"…feels like a hazy dream..."

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