IN OUR NATURE
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JULY 7, 2013
Father and son. The relationship has taken on new meaning in this day and age where divorce rates are skyrocketing, and mid-life crises lead to second families. No matter how you slice it, divorce has its effects, mostly on the children, but the parents too. With “In Our Nature,” the directorial debut of Brian Savelson, those issues are fleshed out in an unexpected weekend in the woods.
Seth (Zach Gilford) and his girlfriend of two years, Andie (Jena Malone), steal away to his parent’s cabin for the weekend. What is supposed to be a quiet getaway leads to Seth face to face with his father, Gil, played by the suave yet cold John Slattery, and his new girlfriend Vicky (Gabrielle Union). Both parties are embarrassed and inconvenienced, making excuses to leave. However, everyone stays as they explore the emotional past shared in this cabin and figure out some of the most challenging life decisions like marriage and children.
For an independent drama with only four characters set in the woods, the film flows nicely, allowing enough character development and spot-on performances to allow for thorough engagement. Slattery defines a separated father, both tiptoeing around his son whom he hardly sees and taking out his aggravations, misplaced or not. His connection to the material is undeniable, bringing to life certain lines like “why can’t you be happy for me” and a scene involving marijuana and Jena Malone. The only actor who lets his performance slide is Gilford, whose blank stares and quiet deliveries make for an uneven and almost stale exhibition. However, the ladies cover this up as best they can, with a more dynamic approach, stealing the show several times.
Calm and quaint like the characters’ surroundings, “In Our Nature” is an intense emotional drama exploring the differences and similarities between blossoming relationships in the era of divorce in which we live. There’s no need for melodrama or heightened realities, no extremes or unexpected twists, just life, begging the question of how much this relates to the director’s life. Pleasant and never dull, Savelson sets the bar high for a follow-up.
December 7, 2012
Cinedigm Entertainment Group