The two at the homestead initially treat Lily with disdain, as if she is the carrier of the modern plague. Soon enough she is accepted, assimilated even. The delicate script gives us only as much information as is necessary and we are left to wonder. Why has this backwoods couple accepted her and what are they guarding?
Of course, we get our answers. Deftly the story pulls back and we learn the history of this backwoods bungalow, its inhabitants, and why it is revered, before bounding back into the original narrative. A brave move in structure from Doscher, but perhaps the most effective way to tell the story.
“…this is a story of secrecy, trust, and mortality that is beautifully executed and wonderfully acted.”
Without question, the three leads are remarkable. Wilson, Brewer, and Blood give us what we need for an effective story. I will clock Wilson on her inconsistent dialect but will defer to further viewings to resolve the matter. If we were to call it, this is easily Brewer’s tour de force with writer-director Takashi Doscher supplying her with the material and support she needs to knock it out of the park.
Tech specs on the film are all average to above par. A particular shot from DP Philip Wages is particularly haunting if inconsequential as the brown structures of the trees stand in stark contrast against the verdant background of sun-dappled leaves. Props also, to the believable production design by Jennifer Chandler and art direction from Victoria Coffee. We are told, visually, a believable story that is fantastic, without crossing into fantasy or camp.
Still is not a pulse-pounding thriller. It is not a visceral, nail-biting actioner. No, this is a story of secrecy, trust, and mortality that is beautifully executed and wonderfully acted. Slow down, lower the lights, and savor this quiet, thought-provoking film.
Still (2018) Written and directed by Takashi Doscher. Starring Madeline Brewer, Lydia Wilson, Nick Blood.
7 out of 10 stars