DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews
 
TALKING TO STRANGERS (director/writer: Rob Tregenza; cinematographer: Rob Tregenza; cast: Ken Gruz (Jesse),  Marvin Hunter  (General), Dennis Jordan (Red Coat), Caron Tate (Mrs. Taylor), Brian Constantini (Angry Man), Bill Sanders (Manager), Henry Strozier (Priest), Joanne Bauer (Water Taxi People), Laurie Nettles (Water Taxi), Sharrie Valero  (Water Taxi), Richard Foster (Slick), Linda Chambers (Trigger), Sara Rush (Potter); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: J.K. Eareckson; Baltimore Film Factory; 1988)

"A somewhat satisfying but uneven provocative film."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A somewhat satisfying but uneven provocative film by first-time director Rob Tregenza ("Inside/Out"/"The Arc") that's shot only once with no editing, in 35mm film. It consists of nine ten minute segments, and is filmed with an inventive camera.

It revolves around the young aspiring writer Jesse (Ken Gruz), who might just be a drifter. He's looking for something unclear as he roams the streets of Baltimore, interviewing strangers at random and trying to make connections with the city folks. Each segment is given a title and ends in ten minutes no matter where it's at.

The more interesting segments include the first segment. The camera is perched high on a crane above street-level, as it peers down at sidewalk traffic and focuses on the nervous movements of a man carrying a briefcase, Jesse, who boards a bus only to get off and cross the street to listen to a street musician and then return to the same spot he was on before boarding the bus. In the next segment, the same man with the briefcase, Jesse, turns up at a mission's 'soup kitchen' for the homeless and gets the boot when a regular at the mission recognizes him as a nosy journalist and scolds him to do his research in the library. A mysterious segment has Jesse in a bank trying to interview a black secretary
(Caron Tate), who is visibly upset over the phone calls from her husband. While the most startling one has a loud gang of punk teens take over a bus and rape a passenger.

Though the stories and acting are only passable, the plotless film has a uniqueness and an adventuresome intelligence and wit that makes up for its flaws.

REVIEWED ON 7/25/2018       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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