Independent dramas are a dime a dozen these days. Many notable actors tend to gravitate to smaller films mostly for artistic reasons. The stories are generally more interesting as is the acting skill. Since the budgets are low, up and coming writers and directors take advantage of this and use the indie film as a way to break into the entertainment business. Pretty much anyone with a camera can become a filmmaker and in some instances, this is the perfect platform for said filmmakers to strut they stuff and show exactly what they’re made of. The new drama Little Accidents is one such film and while there are some big names in the cast, the film itself isn’t exactly the greatest movie of all time.
Set in a small Appalachian mining town, Little Accidents tells a powerful story but in a subtle and at times, ineffectual way. A recent mining tunnel accident which left 10 dead is still lingering in the minds and hearts of the town’s residents. Soul survivor Amos (Boyd Holbrook) is trying to adjust to life after the accident and with a limp and some serious depression, he’s struggling to say the least. Other characters in the film include bored housewife Diana (Elizabeth Banks), her cold husband and mining company executive Bill (Josh Lucas) and misguided teen Owen (Jacob Lofland). All of these characters’ paths eventually cross and while most seem random, their relationships make for some frustratingly average film storytelling.
Newcomer writer/director Sara Colangelo has taken her 2010 short film Little Accidents and expanded it into a feature-length picture but that doesn’t mean it’s anything special. The only decent aspects of this sleepy drama are the performances which definitely stand out in an otherwise dull film. Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl, Milk) is sensational as an injured mineworker, who doesn’t just show signs of physical pain but emotional pain as well. He has lost his friends and brothers in this horrible accident and he is now pretty deep in some tough post traumatic stress. His character of Amos is riddled with psychological issues and a sexual relationship with Elizabeth Banks’ Diane only adds to the complex plot.
With a sincere performance of Banks, who we usually see in comedies, it’s certainly refreshing to see the actress branch out. Her character’s tryst with Amos is sexy, raw, and utterly believable. Another great performance comes from 19-year-old Jacob Lofland (Mud, Justified), who brings innocence and genuine fear to his character of Owen. Lofland is a very talented actor and one can expect to me much more from him in the future. Little Accidents is a tough movie to digest. It is full of unpleasantness and won’t be a crowd-pleaser with most audiences. Basically, if you are a diehard fan of any of the above mentioned actors or if you are a relative of Sara Colangelo then this is your kind of movie. All in all, it is a depressing piece of cinema that is easily missable and that’s a real shame because many of its elements are rather promising.