“Overwhelm the Sky”

I don’t dream much anymore.

Why is this personal admission so critical to understanding Daniel Kremer’s “Overwhelm the Sky?”

It’s not about perspective. I have plenty of that. No, it is more about understanding the how’s and the why’s of the significance of sleepwalking in our society today; the effect it has on those that it afflicts and those around them.

Kremer, who adapted the 1799 novel, “Edgar Huntly, or Memoirs of a Sleepwalker” from Charles Brockden Brown with Alexander Hero and Aaron Hollander, understood the effects all too well. Hero, who plays the lead character, Edgar Huntly was perfectly suited to play the man who slowly descends into a personal hell as he tries to sort out what happened to his best friend, the victim of an apparent mugging gone wrong in Golden Gate Park.
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Boldly, and I think wisely, Kremer shot the film in black-and-white. The stark contrast he creates leaves very little quarter about the events that happen within the film. It also perfectly encapsulates Huntly’s maddening search for details about what happened to his friend. At the same time, the use of black-and-white creates a noirish feeling about the film in the guise of Mike Hammer. An ongoing, handwritten letter exchange between Edgar and his sister, Faye (Alanna Blair) serves as a voiceover, giving yet more clues about his state of mind.

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Hero’s performance is electric. You can feel the angst he has at trying to uncover the mystery while at the same time, fighting his own fatigue. Adding to the mystery is Carmine Clithero, played by Raul Delarosa. Carmine is a drifter and a friend of Uncle Charlie’s (Randall Zielinski) who is also helping Edgar, or simply Eddie as he becomes known throughout the story. Delarosa gives a beautifully stoic performance as Eddie probes further in to his own background, leaving clues as to where Eddie’s story will go.

As a part of Eddie’s personae, he is also a talk-show host for an AM radio station, having taken over for a friend. The interesting aspect of this story thread is in how it visually, and mentally depicts his declining mental state, or perhaps better said, his alertness as if swimming up from the depths of a nightmare.

Eddie is also fighting the currents of the river leading him to that place, leading him to Aimes (Daniel da Silva) and Mab (Diane Barnes). There’s a unique use of editing that Kremer used to conclude the story that is still sticking with me because it is as haunting as it is enlightening.

The film runs nearly three hours, however Kremer doesn’t waste an inch of his run time. Every single story element has a purpose, reminding me very much of Christopher Nolan’s “Memento.” Ultimately, we need to find ourselves.

That’s the type of film that “Overwhelm the Sky” is. The technical mastery on display is simply astounding; the stunning black-and-white noir is exactly what it appears to be. More importantly, the characters that inhabit this film aren’t any more or less than what they appear to be. But, it is the combination of the two that make you want to explore beneath the surface.

I might not dream, but films like this remind me that I am just as human as anyone else is.

“Overwhelm the Sky” is Highly Recommended.

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“Overwhelm the Sky”

Directed by: Daniel Kremer

Screenplay by: Alexander Hero, Aaron Hollander and Daniel Kremer

Adapted from the Novel, “Edgar Huntly, or Memoirs of a Sleepwaker” by Charles Brockden Brown

Starring: Alexander Hero, Raul Delarosa, Willam Cully Allen, Catherine Lerza, Nima Slone, Tiziana Perinotti, Penny Werner, Randall Zielinski, Diane Barnes, Daniel da Silva, Ravi Valleti, Alanna Blair

NR, 170 minutes, A Confluence-Film Release.

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