Written and directed by Daniel John Peters, a young couple are expecting a new-born but one of them has an unexpected turn in life. Starring: Eve Gordon, Adam Bennett, Catherine Hayes and Mike Sengelow.
With a film so filled with tragedy and utterly focused on a singular character, it’s inevitable that a huge amount of its success will rest on the shoulders of its lead actor, in this case Eve Gordon. She gives a very raw, broken performance, bringing through the soul-shattering events that her character has had to go through. There’s a very clear negative evolution to her character as time goes on and while the process itself isn’t entirely fresh, she brings it forth in a saddening fashion, it’s a great reflection on a harsh reality. The chemistry that she has with Bennett as her husband Rob is strong, it’s intensely cheesy and cutesy but they are still a convincing couple and that natural connection balances out the overly rosy air to their relationship.
While Gordon is leading the charge confidently, she can’t offset the inherent issue with this story which is that it has one point to make and makes it repeatedly for 60-minutes. The utterly tragic events that kick off this film’s journey are a perfect way to introduce its overall theme of how harrowing experience change and influence our path in life. However, as you wait for it to then reach a deeper level, it instead takes a completely different direction and adds in sporadic moments of violence which it doesn’t feel thematically or tonally prepared to handle. It attempts a darkness that’s out of place and disconnects you from its story. There’s not a need for every film to have a happy ending, there’s undeniably no way this story could end in happiness but it’s relentlessly determined to keep pushing how terrible life can be and at a certain point that loses its purpose. It’s something people can relate to yes, but that alone is not enough.
It’s not the only issue, there are moments to the dialogue that feel clumsy and its use of time feels unclear. There’s also a very overt use of the score that needed a little more subtlety to avoid undercutting the emotion of Gordon’s performance. Regardless, the direction is otherwise consistent throughout, there’s a couple of attempts at experimental angles which don’t feel necessary or have too much to add but they’re few and far between. It otherwise captures the lost, shattered atmosphere that its story is creating. Although there is a purposeful use of repetition which doesn’t feel too effective, much like the story it makes its point early on and then needed a bit more forward momentum to keep its energy flowing.
Save Jane clearly shows how traumatic life events can send people down a spiralling, destructive path but it doesn’t have much more to say. It’s stuck on one message and a surprisingly consistently negative one which begins to lack purpose, it needed to dig deeper and reach a larger, more complex emotional level. As it enters its latter moments it tries to take on a heavier amount of darkness which doesn’t gel with the rest of the film, it doesn’t have the matching atmosphere or tone to pull off such drastic turns. The direction is solid and Eve Gordon’s performance is great but it needed a more layered story to bring everything together.