Drop Box is a film from Writer/Directors Anesty and Spiros Carasoulos. Coming in at a mere seventy-five minutes and setting the entire film within a small video store with a handful of characters, you might be mistaken for thinking this is a little film that can't really compete with bigger scaled, thicker budgeted and larger cast films, but you'd be wrong.
I often find it hard to review smaller films because you have to make concessions for all the above reasons, and reviewing them on the same level as a film that is being shown in cinema screens across the world is very unfair. Here though, there's not such a need to hold back.
Drop Box is the story of a woman who returns a rented video tape to her local video store, the problem is she's returned the wrong tape, and it just so happens that it's a sex tape with her in the lead.
That's not all. To add to the problem she's facing, she's also incredibly well known. In fact she's a famous pop star.
So she heads into the video store and tries to convince the disgruntled employee to give her the tape back, except her pampered, demanding ways aren't going to help her. Her attempts to persuade him are punctuated by the arrival of customers of varying types and personalities who all help to add to the character based script and build on the feeling of this being a real video store.
When I first saw the trailer for the film, and was deciding whether or not to take a screener and review the film, I was surprised. The dialogue seemed strong, the editing sharp, and the actors pretty good. Things that you often can't always see together in small films.
When I actually watched the film I found that the concentration on good, natural dialogue was still there, and the acting was good, and the same sharp editing was there too.
I often find that in films where the Director has been so involved in the project, where it has become more of a passion than anything else, can seem to find it hard to step back and edit the film down. I've seen a number of films where this has been true to varying degrees.
In Drop Box, the film is very limited by the fact it is so self contained location wise, in that small video store, and so the focus of the audience will be on the characters and their interaction together, something that the writing and directing duo of the Carasoulos' have realised.
The dialogue is surprisingly natural and real, and plays well on the sarcastic and stubborn character of the video store employee Tom. He really does like being obtuse and pampering to no one, and that comes through as David Cormican plays the character well with a good dose of attitude.
He and his dialogue are sharp, fast and witty, and he really enjoys putting people in their place, and actually for many of these scenes, so did I watching it.
Rachel Sehl gives the best performance as the pampered pop star Mindy, and I'm not just saying that because of her good looks and lovely smile! She does manage to give the change in the character some definition.
The script doesn't do the best job of showing the character changing from pampered and controlled brat to a stronger more open character, you do manage to see the change in some scenes and in her performance.
At times there seems to be genuine chemistry between the two actors, something that is again missing from some smaller films that don't have the time or budget to search out that real world spark.
That said there are also some moments where they struggle and lines feel a little flat, but these moments are few and short.
It really was refreshing to watch something that was so heavily character and dialogue based, especially since it manages to pull it off too.
For the most part the film looks good too, there are a couple of shots that seem out of place and a slightly too long. However as I said before, the editing has been strong here, and they haven't clung too much to footage that has served better being cut.
I'm also happy to report that the story doesn't leap into the expected territory too much, of course it works towards the expected conclusion, but it keeps well paced and doesn't spell everything out for us, the audience are left with an amusing closing moment and their own imagination as to where it's all going to go.
Overall the film is enjoyable and never feels the need to go into anything too deep or dramatic, building only on the leads and the videotape itself. The dialogue is strong, the leads good and work well together, and it's an enjoyable and amusing film that is well directed.
Here's the trailer to get a taste of the film: