Syd (Gabriel Sunday) is on his way West to make it as a musician, but gets sidetracked when funds run low. After his attempt to con a local (Michael Yebba) into buying his subpar guitar amp goes awry, resulting in said local getting his revenge on Syd’s car, Syd finds himself stranded in a small town known for its ranches and oil fields. He also finds himself in the middle of that age-old conflict of progress and business versus family and tradition, as his new friend Randy (Hart Turner) is the son of the richest man around, Caspian Davenport (Martin Kove), who just so happens to be interested in buying the land of rancher Jabez (Jim Storm), who is not remotely interested in selling.
Complicating matters more, Jabez’s granddaughter, Sarah Lou (Rainey Qualley), is engaged to Randy, and Syd is taken with her as well, going so far as to agree to work on the ranch to both be closer to her and spy on the ranch situation to report back to Caspian, so he can find the right leverage to finally convince Jabez to sell. Of course, can Syd really follow through as his feelings for Sarah Lou grow, even if it means finally having the money to finish his journey?
Jason Corgan Brown’s Falcon Song indulges in the familiar, adding elements of the fantastical to help it stand out. The tone is a throwback to a less cynical age of cinema, and quite family-friendly, as even the villains in the piece are predominantly cartoonish; Caspian Davenport, for example, is a man who is obsessed with the pirates of old, seeing himself as a modern day incarnation. He doesn’t go so far as to comically accent all his conversations with “Arrrrrr,” but you never get the feeling that he, or anyone in the film, could really do anything that insidious. Even when something does happen, it doesn’t carry the weight of evil so much as the side effect of poor decision-making and fear. And considering the villainous characters Martin Kove has played in the past, not feeling threatened by him in this role is saying something.
Likewise, the romantic tone is predominantly innocent. Sarah Lou is engaged to Randy, and though she and Syd do find mutual appreciation for one another, it’s not like this is a film full of steamy sex and illicit affairs. It feels more like puppy love; again, romantic sentiments more in keeping with an innocuous family tale.
Where the tone becomes too muddled is in the film’s more fantastical moments, such as a couple scenes involving Sarah Lou and an interpretive dance that may or may not have mystical properties. I get what the film is trying to do, adding some magic and whimsy to the familiar, but it also doesn’t sit quite as comfortably in the flow of the piece; it doesn’t heighten so much as potentially confuse. Additionally, the comedic elements often fall flat.
Couple these slight missteps with the film’s calm and friendly vibe, and you have a film that doesn’t make a very strong impression, one way or another. You follow along just fine, but you pretty much know where everything is going because of the familiarity of the narrative. It’s not a bad time, but it’s not an incredible experience you’ll want to share with friends. Falcon Song is fine, it’s more than watchable, it just doesn’t stick with you for every long.
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