#REVIEW: “ABOUT SCOUT”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
I had some trepidations before seeing ABOUT SCOUT, thinking “here we go again. Another road trip indie feature” a plot contrivance that I’ve seen just once too often. By the end of the Movie, I was happy to be invited for the ride.
Scout (played by India Ennenga, the daughter of the Movie’s writer and director Laurie Weltz) and Lulu (Onata Aprile) are sisters that live with their invalid great-great grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) after being abandoned by their father (Tim Guinee). Scout is streets savvy and a loving, attentive older sister. After a chance meeting with a depressed Sam (James Frecheville, best known for ADORE and ANIMAL KINGDOM) on the other side of the fence of a psychiatric care centre where he is recovering from a suicide attempt, Scout ultimately recruits him to find Lulu after her father takes custody of her.
There are a number of reasons why ABOUT SCOUT shouldn’t work and they are mostly script related. There are too many coincidences and obvious plot machinations, all to the detriment of characterizations. We never really know why Sam slit his wrists. Too many cars are easily available to be stolen. Too many costume changes in the too small suitcases Scout and Sam have with them. Visually, the movie is a snooze. Director Weltz was obviously inspired by another Movie featuring Ellen Burstyn, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. Name actors, that also include Danny Glover and Jane Seymour, have criminally little to do.
What works in this Movie, and it works exceptionally well, is the chemistry between Scout and Sam. India Ennenga illuminates the screen. Her smile is breathtaking and infectious as she completely inhabits the role with professional aplomb. James Frecheville is handsome and intense and, in a role with creepy undertows (his character is in his 20s and he is devoted to this 16 year old girl), his performance is graceful.
There is a lovely moment in ABOUT SCOUT where the question of the origin of her name comes to play. Sam assumes it’s an homage to the lead character in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. The surprising answer that she was named after one of Demi Moore’s daughters was a charming bit. I only wish the rest of ABOUT SCOUT was as good as that moment.
levelFILM release ABOUT SCOUT on Friday, March 25, 2016 and VOD Tuesday, March 29, 2016.