Much can be forgiven if you’re emotionally committed. Your grandparents may be a little behind the times and want to watch reruns of “I Love Lucy” and “Murder, She Wrote” all day. But, they’re your grandparents and you love them. Your sweater may be beaten up and have holes all over it, but you’ve had it since high school, it’s your favorite, and you don’t notice or care about the imperfections. Now, someone else’s funky smelling grandparents or ratty sweater- well that’s a different story. These shortcomings glare out at you. Indie films work the same way. If they hook you from the start, you don’t care if the visual quality is a bit lacking or the sound isn’t in Dolby Digital Surround. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true and if the indie doesn’t get you committed emotionally, then every little technical flaw or imperfection will stand out painfully.
Sort of a “Blair Witch Project” meets failed Ingmar Bergman offering, “Jerome’s Razor” tells the story of Jerome, a young man disaffected by his meaningless career and life. Finally having enough one day, Jerome leaves it all behind and drives out into the country. After he runs out of gas, Jerome comes across a group of people who also search for the same meaning and answers he’s after. And so, together they all take a journey into the wilderness. The Ingmar Bergman bit comes in as the characters say strange, unreal, and seemingly profound lines to each other as they continue their journey. Through one painfully slow melodramatic scene after another, the filmmakers try to make a statement about the philosophy of William of Ockham. The idea is that “Ockham’s Razor” or William of Ockham’s attempt to better understand God and our world through cutting away all that proves extraneous, oversimplifies what is a complex road to truth. Sure, this is a good point to explore, but the problem is these guys could have learned a lesson from William and cut a lot of this movie. For example, the first twenty minutes of “Jerome’s Razor” focus solely on Jerome’s ennui at his unsatisfactory job and personal life. “American Beauty” got the same message and more across in five minutes.
Little redeems this movie. There are no great special effects to gloss over a lousy sci-fi film like in “Starship Troopers”. Nor is there a standout acting performance around a terribly unfunny movie as is the case in any number of Bill Murray’s films. Instead, the actors in “Jerome’s Razor” look like they’re trying to act. Maybe they never got into the script or couldn’t decide which way to go with it. Sometimes you can’t even tell, though, as you can’t hear their dialog. Other times you can barely see the actors, as they seem bleached out in the background. Remember earlier when I mentioned emotional commitment? This is what I’m talking about.
I tip my hat to anyone with enough ambition, guts, friends, and wherewithal to make a feature length film. Especially so if you have absolutely no budget, as I’m sure these filmmakers had little in the way of financial support. For this reason, I hate to trample on the efforts of people who actually get off their lazy a***s and do something while others sit around and talk ad nauseum. However, “Jerome’s Razor” looks like it’s being put together while it’s made and could have benefited from a bit more discussion beforehand.