New York is full of millions of stories waiting to be told. Some of them walk the streets, hands in pockets, hoping someone will one day listen to the story of their lives. Some, courtesy of various filmmakers, are written for the big city and just fit in there with no difficulty. Gus (Richard Egan) is one of those characters, though it is a shame his story wasn’t told better, because it’s hindered by the use of a digital camera, which is not so bad because it’s digital, but by the apparent need to experiment at the expense of the audience.
Once the second half of “Delivery Method” is reached, it’s obvious what’s the intent was in the first half, but by then, it’s far too late to recover. In the first half of the movie, Gus, a pot dealer, goes about his business to his various clients, visiting with his friend Sammy (Sully Boyar), and reporting back to his boss, Chris (Hans Hoffman) with the cash. The major problem in this first half is the cuts made in the scenes. For example, there’s one of the beginning scenes where Gus is visiting Sammy, talking a little bit about baseball, and also getting ready to eat. Gus has to go take care of some business, but assures Sammy that he’ll be back. He starts to walk away and we cut to him standing with Sammy at a different angle and then leaving. It’s terribly distracting and hard enough to try to keep up with who Gus is, let alone care about him. Then, as if it couldn’t get hard enough to keep up with Gus, we cut to Jessie (Tanya Clarke) and begin learning about her troubles, especially in being a masseuse, where money isn’t exactly terrific, but you got to do what has to be done.
Overall, it feels like there are cuts every 4-5 seconds, or longer. This serves at least two purposes, depending on how it’s viewed. First, it’s symbolic because the second half, where Gus gets out of Riker’s Island (after being hit by a car months before and being charged with possession), is calmer with fewer cuts, better lighting, and more interaction with Jessie, which she is at first uncomfortable with, but grows used to him. The first half’s lighting, however, is wretched at times and despite what appears to be a need to use natural lighting in order to keep with what sometimes seem like real people that inhabit their own little part of New York City, the lighting is sometimes troublesome, especially with it not being there and it ends up that the emotions of the two leads don’t always register, leaving us in the lurch in trying to feel something for these characters, mustering up anything that could drive us through to the second half, to maintain enough interest.
Just once at the beginning and for about a half an hour after, it would have been nice to see one fully constructed scene. It’s fully understandable that the cuts made in this movie move Gus’ life along and shows us more quicker what he does, but it loses something along the way, more of developing him further. There’s a voice-over at the beginning in which he explains one aspect of his life that affects him to this day, but beyond that, there’s not much help.
There is an admirable attempt at a low-key romance between Gus and Jessie, who eventually warms up to Gus, and it’s somewhat refreshing considering how romance is overplayed in the weekly Hollywood offering. However, as the running time passes, it feels that Jessie gets together with Gus not because she needs him, but because he’s there and what the hell else does she have going for her? His plan involving the resurrection of his pot delivery service in an entirely new form, brings in more money, but there’s not much that can be seen between these two.
“Delivery Method” tries to create appropriate moods and some kind of chemistry between the leads, but like parts of New York itself, it’s dry, dull, and an unpleasant time.