Review: Edge of Town

Written and directed by Christopher Flippo, Summer Roome has her world up-ended when her adrift younger brother and wayward father re-enter her life. Starring: Audrey Deitz, Geoff James, Duane Whitaker, Chase Parker, Hannah Aslesen and Corey Ryan Forrester.

Some films are about the destination and others are about the path it takes to get there, Edge of Town is definitely the latter. This film is focused more on this family’s relationship, past and dynamics rather than where they might end up. It’s a risky choice, as you have to create just the right atmosphere to keep the audience glued in when it’s a rather slow pace and, for the most part, an uneventful story. It struggles a little at first to establish itself, it does feel as though it’s dragging its heels and that the story is hitting too many stereotypes or familiar ground but it does improve as time goes on.

The characters in general are slightly lacking in more individual or charming personalities, the set-up is fairly unoriginal, an uptight responsible sister, slacker brother and deadbeat dad, so it does take a while for it to grow on you. Its story doesn’t quite manage to hit the more emotional note that it’s aiming for later in the film but it is nonetheless entertaining, even if there aren’t many surprises in store.

Flippo’s direction builds a tone that’s relatable and modest, although at times it is somewhat cheesy and things can be too neat and tidy. There’s a gradually growing atmosphere that’s sweet and simple, it may not immediately grab you but so long as you stick with it, it feels worthwhile. It does also manage to inject a larger energy towards its end, while it doesn’t feel the overall focus of the film to reach that point, it does hold some of the strongest work that the film has to offer.

That last impactful change is in large part due to the work of Duane Whitaker (Pulp Fiction, Halloween II), his last scene is delivered excellently. His character throughout has the strongest personality, being sly and devious but there’s a sincere intelligence and kindness that comes through in the end that finishes the film on the perfect note. Audrey Deitz and Geoff James have a great sibling chemistry, it’s very convincing but at the same time it’s simply too familiar. There’s not a lot of room for them to operate within these characters who are quite formulaic, which is a shame as it would have been great to see what they could do with space for more depth or humour.

Edge of Town is a sweet drama but sadly it strikes too many familiar notes to break away from the mould. The ensemble of actors is solid here but Whitaker ultimately stands out as capturing the strongest, most sincere moment that the film has to offer. There’s a likability to it that slowly grows on you, it begins off feeling too rosy and fairly cheesy but it levels off as time goes on and instead results in something kind and hopeful.

Verdict: ✯✯✯ | 6/10

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