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Stuck in the Middle: “45365”

Stuck in the Middle: "45365"

Occupying a strange zone between nostalgic homecoming and generalized snapshot of Middle America, Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross’s pleasantly lackadaisical documentary 45365 observes daily life in the brothers’ native Sidney, Ohio. In the significant downtime between lovely landscape shots, the Rosses check in with select residents of the Upper Miami Valley city of 20,000—the members of a high school football team, a judge running for re-election, a mother and her ne’er-do-well son, a teenage girl on the verge of breaking things off with her boyfriend, etc. There’s no particular story here, just a stretch of time passed with people whose concerns seem mostly scaled to the municipal; gradually, there emerges a portrait of self-contained small-city life in 45365’s titular ZIP code. The resulting whole is often very beautiful, if not particularly satisfying, though for those who prefer documentaries that corroborate received ideas over those that make the seemingly familiar strange, this might be just the ticket. Read Benjamin Mercer’s review of 45365.

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