Saturday, 10 July 2010

Dandelion 2004 - Revisited

Subtlety is a forgotten art. Nature and landscapes have their own tales. Silence is not just another word. Melancholy can be beauty. I loved Dandelion.

In a small town of rolling fields and endless skies, isolated 16 year old Mason lives in a world where families exist in fragmented silence and love seems to have gone missing. Then Mason meets Danny, a sensitive and troubled girl, and their tender bond is soon tested after a fatal accident and a series of complications takes Mason away for something he didn't do. Upon his return, the two find what they're looking for - but with tragic consequences.

The audience about Dandelion
Source: user comments IMDb

"The movie is rich with symbolism so subtle that it manages not to slap you in the face with obvious, cheesy links between each character and/or event, all while still pulling everything together, leaving no annoying loose ends to tie up in the end. The music was written for the movie, so it compliments the movie instead of distracting from it, and the scenery (as you'll read in many more reviews) is stunning."

"For all of those who have yet to see this, the movie opens with a very teary Vincent Kartheiser placing a .357 in his mouth and pulling the trigger. I was so amazed that I sat completely still waiting to see what would happen next.
I'm not typically a drama-movie guy. I like action, explosions, nudity, horror and just plain disgusting things in movies. This movie has very little if any of the afore mentioned things. What this movie does have though is amazing sense of compassion and real life circumstances that draw the viewer (this viewer at least) into this hypnotic trance where you just can't take your eyes off of the screen...
Let me also say that every character in this film is played fully and believably by the actors portraying them. The scenery from upper Washington and Idaho where it was shot adds so much to the film itself that I find it impossible to imagine this film being as believable and prolific if it were set anywhere else."

"Hauntingly Beautiful Portait of Love, Hope and Tragedy Will Capture Your Heart
Debut director/co-writer Mark Milgard masterfully makes the long hot summer of the lovely Idaho and Washington landscapes redolent with both the magic of young love and the dread of violence in a very "Days of Heaven" fashion. The perceptive camera fills in the silent gaps of the inarticulate characters, between parents and their teens, between parents and between teens. The sins of the parents are literally visited on the children. The action is moved along not by theatrically explosive explication but by the existential choice that each character makes, even as one gently points out that his passivity at a key point was a choice. Using cinema as a storytelling technique, the director unveils these choices visually."

Michelle Forbes as Mrs Voss in Dandelion:

"From the beautiful shots of Idaho fields to the perfectly understated acting, Dandelion is its own greatest compliment. The editing, although only using very few techniques succeeds in making the most powerful transitions possible. As well, for a movie of its length and bare bones story it is amazing that the film never feels boring. Most directors would have felt like making Dandelion a short, but in its full length one can see its true colors. Anyone who watches independent film will not be surprised by the plot, but the beauty with which Dandelion executes the simple story is a testament to artistic film making."

"I found this film to be intriguing. I relate to these characters and the place they find themselves stuck in. I appreciate the use of metaphor (guy at the train tracks, the beating a tractor with a shovel)and found the cinematography to be beautiful. The actors did a fantastic job of telling the story of these characters. I found each to develop through a series of emotions. Hurting, Angry, Happy, Good natured, fearless in the face of difficulty, honest, frightening, dangerous, under pressure, heart broken, in love, and many more I can't list here. This film is nothing like any other film and cannot be grouped with any other, it stands along in its expressiveness and investigation of the human condition. I think they have really created and captured something here and it takes someone with the ability for sensitive and artistic observation to catch it, slow down otherwise you won't get it."

"The cinematography is breathtaking."

What the critics are saying

"A Search for Human Connections in a West Where the Land Is Bleak and the Lives Are, Too
In a movie filled with long, pensive silences as the camera slowly pans over the land and sky, the characters' reluctance to speak borders on affectation. The cinematographer Tim Orr finds a bleak magnificence reminiscent of the cosmic melancholy evoked by Nestor Almendros's camera in Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven." The teenage protagonist of "Dandelion," Mason Mullich (Vincent Kartheiser), is a milky-skinned John-Boy Walton type mired in hopelessness. The film's opening scenes observe him alone in a field putting a gun into his mouth and rehearsing his suicide."

"Dandelion is one of those rare movies about and for teenagers that's driven by real human drama rather than by ancillary sales of soundtrack CDs and videogames. Milgard and his uniformly excellent team of actors invest the story with such emotional richness that, early on, we sense these characters are worth spending time with."

"There's nothing particularly earth-shattering about this gentle drama — there are no shocking revelations, no sudden explosions of violence — but Milgard has an unerring sense for the quietly dramatic. He's also got excellent taste in music — the soundtrack includes songs by Cat Power, Sparklehorse and Doves — while Tim Orr, who captured the real grit of New York City's Lower East Side in RAISING VICTOR VARGAS, and brought grace and beauty to David Gordon Green's otherwise overrated GEORGE WASHINGTON and ALL THE REAL GIRLS, just might be the best young cinematographer working today."

Director: Mark Milgard
Writers: Mark Milgard, Robb Williamson & Richard Murphy
Original Music by Robb Williamson
Cinematography by Tim Orr
Film Editing by Amy E. Duddleston

Mason Mullich - Vincent Kartheiser
Danny Voss - Taryn Manning
Luke Mullich - Arliss Howard
Layla Mullich - Mare Winningham
Eddie - Blake Heron
Mrs. Voss - Michelle Forbes
Uncle Bobby - Marshall Bell
Arlee - Shawn Reaves