Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Just Average100%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

1 review, 0 user ratings

Latest Reviews

True Fiction by Jay Seaver

Pick of the Litter by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Peter Sobczynski

House With A Clock In Its Walls, The by Peter Sobczynski

Life Itself (2018) by Peter Sobczynski

Unity of Heroes by Jay Seaver

Hanagatami by Jay Seaver

Predator, The by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Rob Gonsalves

Madeline's Madeline by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Night Labor
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Jay Seaver

"A small movie about an often-overlooked type of guy."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2013 INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL BOSTON: Documentary filmmakers David Redmon and Ashley Sabin had two features at IFFBoston last year; I saw the one about teenage Russian models in Japan rather than the one about the attempt to open a fish-processing plant in Maine. The latter would have been a natural complement to "Night Labor", to the extent that I almost wonder if this film is constructed out of unused footage from the other.

The film focuses almost entirely on one man, Sherman Frank Merchant. He's the sort of fellow who looks his age and then some; there's evidence of a lot of hard living and cigarettes on his face. Now, he clams in the afternoon, eats his catch for dinner, and then works the night shift at the plant. He doesn't talk much, but he doesn't seem to have too many people to talk with.

And so, Night Labor is a documentary that is almost 100% pure observation. We watch Merchant go through what seems like a typical day, with no narration and no particular attempts to add context. Even when Merchant says something, it's not really directed to the camera as much as it's an under-his-breath muttering that brings Popeye to mind when the audience feels generous and that guy wandering the street or riding the bus who is so disgusted or enamored with something that he has to say it out loud. How much the audience enjoys the movie may be directly proportional to how much they see as interesting details and demonstrations of processes with which they weren't previously familiar versus how much seems like banal minutia.

Whichever it winds up feeling like, it's certainly a fine-looking movie. There's plenty of sharp, clear photography of coastal Maine, sure, but there's character to everything that serves as contrast, whether it be Merchant's craggy face or plant where he works. That's a weird environment as seen here, large empty spaces with only Merchant filling them, alternately antiseptically clean and full of fish guts. Sabin & Redmon convey a lot of information with their camera even when not much is going on.

Is it enough? I suppose that depends in part on one's mood when seeing it, although one's satisfaction can vary moment to moment as various segments wear out their welcome or establish a rhythm. It's got some odd bits that seem like they should go somewhere but don't, and others that seem oddly poignant for no obvious reason. It's uneven, but it's a variability that seems to arise naturally rather than from the filmmakers pushing things in different directions.

At only 68 minutes, it at least goes down fairly quickly and easily, and by being resolutely focused on one person, it gives the audience a look at the sort of loner who seldom shows up in movies about different people interacting. It also makes me a little curious to see "Downeast" just to see what connections there are between the two.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=25015&reviewer=371
originally posted: 05/05/13 18:10:09
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Independent Film Festival Boston For more in the 2013 Independent Film Festival Boston series, click here.

Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum




Directed by
  David Redmon
  Ashley Sabin

Written by


Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast