Written and directed by Jordan Rosenbloom, co-written by Ben Eisen, a lone radio DJ finds connection in a post apocalyptic world. Starring: Travis Mitchell, Booth Daniels and John Mariano.
Starting out on a heavily nostalgic note which sets both a homely and tense tone, The Spinning Man kicks things off on strong footing. With this type of post apocalyptic setting, Jordan Rosenbloom reasonably could have set it in any era after the 1950s or well into the future, but he chooses to land where it all began. Building on the iconic footage of the American government using fake neighbourhoods to test out atomic bombs was a great idea, not only in a visual sense but then bringing through jazz music and the classic 50s patter is hugely beneficial. Matched with the nicely chaotic nature to its initial timeline and the frenzied editing, it creates a very strong atmosphere which is suspenseful but also quite charming. Rosenbloom’s framing choices are excellent, especially in its opening scenes which helps to build a great amount of energy to film.
One of the ideal things about creating a story such as this, is that it’s all massively subject to interpretation. Having a lone character, completely isolated, slowly losing his grip on a reality that is so depressing, you don’t really want to have a grip on it anyway, opens up a lot of opportunities, from madness, violence, hallucination to starvation and more. Jordan Rosenbloom and Ben Eisen’s writing moves along at a good pace, firstly getting to know Stan (Travis Mitchell) before following his descent and newfound friendship. The tone establishes a fun mix of classy and crazy, the music choices push that further to create a bigger personality to both the style and to Stan. Eventually it takes on a slight horror edge which has its advantages and disadvantages, it does feel like a natural choice for the story but at the same time, the atmosphere and tone don’t feel entirely prepared for its dark implications.
Playing the sole onscreen character, a lot rests on Travis Mitchell’s performance and he ticks every box. He plays into that initial charm, he feels charismatic, logical and sensible which makes it all the more effective when the cracks begin to appear. When The Spinning Man is then introduced to the mysterious voice of Jim (Booth Daniels) it reveals the further layers to Stan. Daniels does a great job of walking that line between friendly and threatening, adding a sinister edge to otherwise perfectly pleasant sentences. It’s a brief and only voice-led performance but it drives the story forward, and make the space for Mitchell to enter a tense, manic and unhinged arena.
The Spinning Man is a surprisingly charming but tense foray into a post-apocalyptic world. It cleverly uses the feel and music of the 1950s to add a great amount of energy and personality. Jordan Rosenbloom’s directorial style creates a strong atmosphere, with smart framing choices and effective, fast editing. The story moves well, easily holds your attention and other than slightly throwing itself off at the deep end ultimately, progresses in a very satisfying way. All of which is led by a great performance from Travis Mitchell who gradually unfolds the different layers to his character.