By Mark Bell | December 11, 2001

“Still Life” begins with a quote from “In the Woods” that states, “Oh if life were only moments, even now and then a bad one…but if life were only moments, then you’d never know you had one.” Yet strangely, this film suffers most from the fact that it has some smart ideas and downright wicked twists but only in moments. Overall we the viewer are kept waiting for a big finish that never really pays off by characters so uninteresting, it’s no wonder the rotten events of the film happen to them.
As we fade in, Danny (Zak Jeffries), David (Jamie Sinsz), Karma (Natalie Roers) and Kevin are all in hot water at school. It seems they all “borrowed” the same photographs for a project that will decide their grade in a photography class. For some reason, their teacher gives the unlikely foursome a shot at redemption because she likes them. They have to redo the project.
Already annoyed by the fact the group got caught cheating and that the photos all belonged to him, Danny trudges home to the solace of his fiancé. When he arrives, he finds her firmly planted atop her boss in the throes of passion. Thus, an idea is spawned!
Danny races back to his school chums, grabs his camera and proceeds to photograph the affair for who knows what reason.
We soon find out that Danny is using this photo as a basis for the groups photo project do-over. The theme? “Total Truth.” Danny reasons that his fiancé told him she loved him, swore it and clearly lied. Somehow, all four decide to agree that indeed, “the truth” should be the single theme for their four individual projects. The problem is, only two people actually stick to this plan that, in actuality, is never fully hashed out for the viewer in the first place.
Writer/Director/Editor Mike Flanagan does know how to shoot a film and utilizes some killer shots and angles that blend in nicely. He also does a really nice job editing together some nice montages as well as incorporating photographs into the scheme. As acting goes it’s decent overall but Sinsz (as David) gets all the best dialogue and one liners. David is not only evil, but he’s funny and Sinsz nails his performance. But his personality and character has so much humor and flair, he makes everyone else seem bland and flat.
If only this film had stayed on the twisted road it starts out on, this film could have been creepy and refreshing. Instead, it meanders about trying to be some kind of character study. At one point, Karma remarks to David “This is morbid.” David replies, “but completely fascinating.” I was left wishing it was either.

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  1. Thomas Wright says:

    After all of that he has NEVER returned my expensive gear or even apologize about it or attempt to replace it. The credits I deserve along with royalties for my songs. These blaring omissions are painful for sure. No one likes feeling used and cheated, especially from a friend we strive to help shine for friendships sake.

  2. Thomas Wright says:

    I was lead engineer for all of the production sound for this film, with my apprentice rolling tape and watching meters. I am credited only as boom operator. This really hurt considering how much i did for this young director either pro bono or very little to cover daily costs, tape, etc. And I did it multi track, entirely in the digital domain from location to the studio, which no one offered back then, certainly not as accommodating, cheap and committed.
    i was hurt but i really didn’t want to whine. Then I read his other movie I alone did all the post production, sound design, re-recording, all music production: Engineer for recording, editing, Music arranging, performing, mixing, producing and inserting into film as well as songwriting, ADR, Foley (supplied and paid for Foley Artist). Final film editing, mixing and mastering the film producing digital master for duplication, even used a song of mine and another I wrote and performed for the film plus things I am forgetting. All for cost, if that. Trying to help a young artist blossom was just fun. However, after all I did in hundreds of hours passionately, I received NO credit. NONE. ZIP. NOTHING. UNMENTIONED AND NOT CREDITED FOR A THING! Then I had to say something. It is wrong. So, then I got to this one.
    For this film I supplied and ran the live production sound department. supplied all of the audio equipment needed, mixing for film and crew monitor. Due to another film commitment I regretfully was unable to work on post for this film. So I taught Flanagan how to do what I did and gave him an Alexis 16 mixing board, an expensive super cardioid microphone, headphones, stands and cables, compressor, fx and pro studio software to do the job that I was sadly unable to manage. He also, to my surprise,used one of my bands entire albums, “Birds Have Suntans” as the soundtrack to the film. That was great fun. But again, listed as only boom operator? No music credit? Nothing? Worst of all, after trying to help himbj hurt

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