Before we go any further, a definition of this movie’s title is helpful. A tech fall is a referee stoppage of a wrestling bout (think Greco-Roman, not WWE) when one wrestler is taking a beating and has no chance to defeat his or her opponent. Anyone who knows anything about wrestling knows that this is not the sport’s primary goal and that it is especially inappropriate on the high school level. Nevertheless, this is the primary goal of “Tech Fall”’s hero, Bill.
Reared solely by his overbearing and heavy handed father, Bill is a product of tough love. Very tough, tough love as evidenced by Bill’s dogged pursuit of a tech fall against his own teammate in a practice. As his father looks on approvingly, Bill ultimately injures his teammate so severely that the boy is rendered unable to wrestle for the rest of the year. In essence, Bill has been trained to be an animal and is ready for any challenge- except to deal with a loss and to stand up to his father.
Though this is an excellent movie, its story has been told many times before. Perhaps the best example being “The Great Santini”. Of course, every story has been told before. The crux of the problem here is that as a short film, “Tech Fall” does not have enough time to distinguish and differentiate itself. Perhaps given more room to explore the characters and this scenario, such quick comparisons to other movies would be less obvious.
The lighting and cinematography of this film are excellently done. Each scene has a feel and tone to it which immediately convey to the audience what to expect. Yet, the story is at times difficult to follow. Employing a number of flashbacks and flashfowards, “Tech Fall” clouds the timeline to such an extent that it’s difficult to discern the order of events. A second viewing will certainly clear up any questions, but not everyone will get a second viewing.
Despite some funky editing and a very familiar plot, “Tech Fall” is a solid movie deserving of its recognition by the Florida Film Festival.