SXSW 2015 Review: ONE AND TWO Adds Up To Something Almost Magical

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
SXSW 2015 Review: ONE AND TWO Adds Up To Something Almost Magical

Isolation can be a killer.

For the children who are the heart and soul of One and Two, that's especially so, given that they have been raised in isolation, surrounded by a giant wall.

Eva (Kiernan Shipka, Mad Men) and Zac (Timothée Chalamet, Interstellar) are obedient and respectful teenagers, more so than the average adolescent, perhaps becaue the only company they share is that of their parents, Elizabeth (Elizabeth Reaser) and Daniel (Grant Bowler). The family lives on a lovely, wooded farm, growing their own food and raising their own animals for their own personal needs. It's a simple, self-sufficient life that requires a considerable amount of hard work, with few distractions at hand.

And then there's that wall.

Eva and Zac are at the age when they yearn to explore the outside world, which they have apparently never seen, but only suspect exists on the other side of the wall. It's not that they necessarily have a destination or purpose in mind, other than to satisfy their curiosity. But they just want to go!

sxsw-2015-one-and-two-350.jpgDirector Andrew Droz Palermo, who co-wrote the original screenplay with Neima Shahdadi, has worked steadily as a cinematographer for the past few years (his credits include the home-invasion thriller You're Next). For his narrative feature debut, working with director of photography Autumn Durald, he has crafted a picture that looks deceptively dark, often filming outdoors with only available light. That helps set the movie apart from others of its ilk, and also helps to impart an almost mystical aura to the proceedings.

The minimally-lit atmosphere wraps the characters in gloom, reinforcing a sullen mood established by Daniel, the father figure. Daniel is a glum sort of fellow, it seems, the type who might walk around with a thundercloud overhead even on a bright summer's day.

As things turn out, Daniel's sour disposition appears to have a basis in reality. His dear wife Elizabeth is declining in health, even as his children are starting to rebel against his family headship. He sternly demands obedience, brooking no nonsense, which no longer sits well with the teenagers, especially Eva, who has no desire to follow his silly rules. Eva also manifests a certain gift that threatens to upset the balance of the household, which concerns her father greatly.

Burbling slowly, One and Two is too dissolute to be immediately compelling, but it exerts a steadily increasing force as it examines the characters and the challenges they face, without spelling everything out. Mysterious winds push and pull at the narrative surface, eventually revealing enough to be quite a fascinating story.

One and Two contains certain elements that are best appreciated as a surprise, so I'll leave it at that, except to note that it's a very flavorful, tender movie that feels emotionally rich and strange, and still lingers in my brain.

SXSW hosted the North American premiere last Saturday. More information about the film is available at the official Facebook page.

Screen Anarchy logo
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here to report it, or see our DMCA policy.
Andrew Droz PalermoElizabeth ReaserGrant BowlerSXSW 2015Timothee Chalamet

More from Around the Web

More about One and Two

Around the Internet