CXL follows the weird life of Nolan (played by Cole Alexander Smith). When we first meet him, he’s on a subway listening to a voicemail from his now e-girlfriend, who he just left on their anniversary; in short, he’s kind of a dick. He’s also a writer (i.e. broke) who makes money to pay the rent by selling flyers on the street with his roommate. We know he’s a writer because he just finished his first book entitled Dehydrated Tears, and is hoping to get it published.
Nolan is a free-spirit who’s coasting through life. He’s also a dreamer, haunted by his irrational decision to leave his ex, and spends time every day at the local book store hoping a publishing company will waltz in, buy his book, and make him a real author. He’s really not going anywhere and his ambitious mind is playing a lot of dirty tricks on him. During a hard day’s work of passing out flyers, he meets Cassie (Lisa Greyson), another free-spirit who just might be the push he needs to write the next chapter in his currently stagnant life.
CXL is the sophomore feature from director Sean Gillane, who raised funds to make the film via Kickstarter. Some critics are against crowdfunding, but I think this is an excellent way to build an audience. Gillane got his funds, made his film, and here we are.
CXL reminds me of something Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman would have collaborated on in the early stages of their friendship. Sharp writing and themes, where you have to think deep to find their meaning, linger in the film. This is exactly what Gillane wants. There are also pretty visuals hanging around in CXL – most notably a character harnessed like a puppet.
Is CXL a love story? Is it a coming-of-age tale? It’s unclear, but one thing is for sure: Gillane and his writing partners, Theo Miller and Katherine Bruens, have the smarts and promise to make an unconventional-yet-engaging film on a very small budget.
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