Runtime: 84 Minutes
Director/Writer: Jared Douglas
Stars: Christian Gnecco Quintero, Stefanie Rons, Dwayne Tarver
By Bianca Garner
“All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.” It was the great French New Wave auteur Jean-Luc Godard who is attributed for this infamous saying. Personally speaking I like to interpret this saying, as the best movies are built upon the simplest of plots. Too often I come across films (not just indie films, but major studio pictures) which become too bogged down in overly complicated plots that seem to be there as a red herring, and to subvert our expectations. Or it’s a film that is so full of special effects and action sequences in order to distract the viewer from the paper-thin plot. It’s clear that the filmmakers have overlooked what makes a film compelling to most audiences: a simple and well told story with a well-developed, fleshed out character at its center.
According to nofilmschool.com there are six essential elements that make a film ‘Great’, these are Story, Character, Acting, Timing, Sound and Visuals. No Film School elaborates on this further, “Cinema is all about storytelling, and pretty much everything you put into your film, dialog, props, lighting, a song, or even an edit, communicates something to your audience.” It may seem obvious, but often one or more of these aspects gets overlooked by filmmakers. Another important aspect to consider is ‘Subtext’, which “is all about the subtle messages you’re trying to convey to your audience without explicitly coming out and stating them. “
“Quintero’s performance is beyond impressive; there really isn’t the right word to describe how incredible his performance is in this film.”
What does any of this have to do with Jared Douglas‘ “The Sound of the Wind”? Well, it’s clear that Douglas’ and his team understand the principles of filmmaking, and they don’t sacrifice any element. They understand the power of the visual medium of film, and also understand that each element whether it be sound or editing is important in order to tell an effective story which connects with the viewer. The film’s simple plot works in its favour, and the extraordinary performance from it’s central lead (Christian Gnecco Quintero) grabs your attention.
Not since Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in “Joker” have I seen an actor become so lost in a role and deliver such a jaw-dropping performance. In fact, Quintero’s performance is beyond impressive; there really isn’t the right word to describe how incredible his performance is in this film. One can only hope that this film brings him all the necessary attention he deserves, as prior to this film he has only appeared in short films.
Douglas’ manages to build on atmosphere and tension in order to keep the viewer hooked, even if the plot is simple and centres around a possible McGuffin. It was a refreshing delight to see a film so expertly crafted as “The Sound of the Wind”, and you can easily tell that those behind the project understood that film can also be an art form as well as entertainment.
Douglas’ wastes no time in throwing us into the deep end of this psychological thriller. A mystery is immediately set up when we see the blood-splattered photo of a young girl, and a man with an obvious head injury sitting alone in an abandoned cabin. Who is this man? How did he end up in this state? We then cut to the same man driving at night and quickly find out that this is Lucio (Quintero). He has been given the task of buying diapers for his two year old daughter, by his long-suffering wife Vanessa (Stefanie Rons). What seems an easy task quickly becomes derailed, when Lucio believes he’s being followed.
“As stated before, this is really Quintero’s film and he well and truly owns it…Quintero’s acting has the magnetic pull to keep the viewer hooked throughout the film.”
Fearing for his own and his family’s lives, he decides to go on the run, driving into the vast sprawling desert. However, his luck appears to have run out and he breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Through telephone calls with Vanessa, it slowly emerges that Lucio may be suffering from a delusional mental breakdown, but Lucio insists everything is real and that it has to do with a mysterious bag that he found in a parking lot. Is there anyone actually following Lucio? And, if so how long will he be able to outrun them?
As stated before, this is really Quintero’s film and he well and truly owns it. This is clearly a very psychical and mentally demanding film which requires a strong presence in order to carry it. Quintero’s acting has the magnetic pull to keep the viewer hooked throughout the film. However, it is also worth noting the performance from Rons who is only shown to us in the flesh in a couple of fleeting shots, we mostly get to know her as a voice on the other end of the telephone. Rons delivers a great monologue in the form of a voicemail message and we can hear her character going through the turmoil of several emotions all at once.
Through the use of the film’s score by Julian Pollack and the elaborate sound design we get an unique insight into the emotional state of the character. The use of distorted sounds, such as the loud buzzing of a cell-phone or the humming of a light bulb helps to put the viewer on edge and allow us to empathise with Lucio. It’s not only the effective use of sound and music which manages to immersive into this heightened reality but also the effective camerawork by cinematographer Neeraj Jain. Tight camera angles help to build a sense of claustrophobia especially in the confined space of Lucio’s car. The use of wide shots help to demonstrate the vast isolating space of the desert. And, the use of POV helps to either put us in the shoes of Lucio or in the position of the unseen threat that lurks outside.
At the age of just 26 years old Jared Douglas has already proven that he is well-versed in the language of film. I believe that “The Sound of the Wind” is a passion project for Douglas, and it is very clear that he has done a great deal of research into mental illness and is committed to portraying it in a realistic depiction. I honestly wish that all those involved in “The Sound of the Wind ” go on to pursue long, rewarding careers in filmmaking because they deserve to.