Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Life, The Movie: Bill and Turner Ross' "45365"

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Indiewire July 31, 2009 at 2:28AM

Cinema vérité writ large and literal, "45365" offers a supremely detailed look at daily routines in small town America. Focusing on a huge ensemble of characters residing in Sidney, Ohio — the movie's the titular zipcode — sibling filmmakers Turner and Bill Ross capture the minutiae of a self-contained world. In a feat of virtuoso documentary editing, they offer not one slice of life but several: Here's the stone-faced judge going through the motions of his reelection campaign; there's a jaded local cop frustrated over multi-generational criminal habits; the high school football team frets over upcoming competition while patrons at the local barber shop engage in run-of-the-mill gossip. The Ross brothers seem less intent on painting a big picture than several vividly crafted small ones.
0

Cinema vérité writ large and literal, "45365" offers a supremely detailed look at daily routines in small town America. Focusing on a huge ensemble of characters residing in Sidney, Ohio — the movie's the titular zipcode — sibling filmmakers Turner and Bill Ross capture the minutiae of a self-contained world. In a feat of virtuoso documentary editing, they offer not one slice of life but several: Here's the stone-faced judge going through the motions of his reelection campaign; there's a jaded local cop frustrated over multi-generational criminal habits; the high school football team frets over upcoming competition while patrons at the local barber shop engage in run-of-the-mill gossip. The Ross brothers seem less intent on painting a big picture than several vividly crafted small ones.

That concept provides a two-sided proposition. On the one hand, "45365" contains a fascinating alternative to the standard linear narrative generally applied to portraits of middle class existence. Instead it favors a widespread observational approach that allows viewers to become totally immersed in the nuances of these lives. However, with no clear beginning or end, no cohesive thesis or overall trajectory, the individual pieces fail to add up. It's a fractured experience that counteracts the possibility of any ongoing emotional investment in a larger plot.

However, this decentralized storytelling bears an obvious motive. At times, the canvas simply gets too crowded, but each thread functions on its own terms — and sometimes, one story comments on another. We see alienated teens and their bored adult counterparts. Communal rituals like rock concerts and sports games blur together to suggest the greater human impulses beneath the surface. "45365" is difficult to absorb as a single viewing experience, but unquestionably purposeful as a single unit: Life, the movie.

It's also utterly gorgeous, suggesting a Terrence Malick movie set in the real world. The camera often steals the show, capturing the essence of the seasons as if reflecting specific characters. A bright, colorful day on the river juxtaposes significantly with closing shots of the entire town blanketed in snow. As the movie cycles through such scenarios, numbers from the title flash on the screen to signify different sections. The units, like "45365" itself, have arbitrary definition. The documentary is thusly defined by the nature of its name — an engaging and wholly unique enigma that operates on its own terms.

[Editor's Note: Eric Kohn is a frequent contributing writer to indieWIRE. "45365" is available to watch on SnagFilms as part of its SummerFest series. indieWIRE is owned by SnagFilms.]

This article is related to: Online






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More