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By Doug Brunell | April 17, 2006

Tragedy can do strange things to people. It affects different people differently. Some pull through. Some falter. Either way, it leaves its scars. “Merlot” investigates that aspect of tragedy, and it attempts to do it in a very short running time. Does it work? Somewhat.

The beginning of the film opens with an editor named Miriam (Shannon Griffith) serving her writer (Robert Boitor) a nice dinner. Something doesn’t feel quite right about their interactions, and there’s an odd disconnect between the viewer and the characters, too. That feeling draws you in, though, and then you find out what’s wrong. Unfortunately, you aren’t given enough time to build up much emotion for Miriam, so her real story is a bit diminished.

It’s easy to see how this film could’ve been made better. The end product, which does have a slight impact, is what we are left with, however. Had more time been taken, it could have been a real rollercoaster of emotions, but instead kind of hits and runs. You can’t argue with that kind of filmmaking, but at the same time it doesn’t always serve the story well. This is one of those cases, but it is still worth watching if only to see how director/writer Matthew S. Morris handles it.

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