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By Don R. Lewis | February 6, 2007

You ever have one of those drifter type friends who kind of wander in and out of your life like a cloud? One day they’re there, acting every bit the part of your best friend and the next day, they’re just gone. Unreachable. No one knows where they went. They never said goodbye. If you know a person like this, you’ll recognize Eddy (Donawho), the main character in Matthew Nourse’s gorgeous film “The Pacific and Eddy.”

Eddy has returned to “Anytown,” U.S.A. much to the surprise of his best friend, Barron (Gregg) who seems either really happy to see him…or stunned. In fact, we the viewer never really figure out what emotions Barron is displaying until much later and that’s a good thing. Well, it’s a good thing if you don’t mind your films with heavy doses of ambiguity. Personally, I don’t mind it and when a film is acted as well and shot as gorgeously as “The Pacific and Eddy,” I really don’t mind it at all. And that’s what makes this film so intriguing: we never really know what’s going on. Eddy returns to town and people are either shocked or not surprised at all. We quickly realize the death of a close friend drove him away, but what role Eddy had in the death is a real sore spot both for him and the people in his circle of friends and acquaintances. Eddy remains fairly even keel and emotionless towards those around him but his presence alights all sorts of deep emotions from the folks about town including Barron’s live-in girlfriend Farah (Highsmith) and old friend Chelsea (Swain), an artist who’s going through her own growing pains.

As I mentioned, if you want a film that has a real traditional beginning, middle and end, “The Pacific and Eddy” might leave you hanging. Also, the script is not perfect. There are several moments where Nourse’s sparse writing style tries to dig deeper through dialogue and fumbles a bit. But still, it’s crystal clear that Matthew Nourse is a talent to keep an eye on. “The Pacific and Eddy” announces a writer and director with his own style, kind of Allison Anders (who is Nourse’s mentor) meets David Gordon Green. Ryan Donawho also steps forward as a strong screen presence who has had some nice roles before but really owns the screen as Eddy. He’s at once vulnerable, obnoxious, damaged and sweet and that’s tough to pull off. Newcomer Mark Gregg also does a nice job portraying Barron as a sort of sparrow in the eye of a hurricane. He does a slow emotional burn throughout the film yet never tips his hand as to what his true feelings are until much later. “The Pacific and Eddy” is one of those films that you find yourself thinking about long after the lights come up and it’s going to be fun to see what Nourse comes up with next.

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