Two actors chatting in a single space only seems to work within a stage play setting or when witty dialogue distracts from the monotony. Rarely can even the most seasoned filmmaker take the stoic sting out of such simple staging and make the viewer forget. But in the sweet, engaging and beautifully brilliant new film "Sparrows Dance," Writer/Director Noah Buschel accomplishes the impossible by making his he said, she said dance not only feel naturally confined, but it then becomes secondary and eventually inconsequential to what the audience is really invested in – the characters.
We’re introduced to a woman who has a severe case of agoraphobia. She does all the daily duties one would expect – exercises, eats and sleeps – but with a small problem of not wanting to leave the apartment and have any human interaction at all. Trouble in paradise comes when her toilet backs up and floods her apartment and others below and she’s forced to call a plumber. Low-key but very talkative, Wes is a guy whom she finds intriguing and the two begin an unusual relationship – all at her place of course.
Being the helmer of this hit, I wasn’t at all surprised that this was the work of Noah Buschel. Having previously made the Michael Shannon/Amy Ryan noir flick "The Missing Person" (on my Top Ten list for 2009), Buschel is the master of complex characters that cook. But what is surprising this time out is how effortless and thus seemingly real he makes "Sparrows Dance" feel. It’s as if we’re seeing an unscripted slice of life as opposed to a staged piece of cinema, which is what makes his one-time reveal of the surrounding set during a private dance moment between his leads so much more shocking. It’s a jarring piece of insight into the mind of someone reminding you not everything is what it seems - makes you appreciate the effort. As the man and woman of this askew romance, leads Marin Ireland and Paul Sparks are the perfect ying and yang in a relationship rife with longing, insecurity and hope. Never feeling unreal, both invest serious time and energy into making everything from eating dinner to enjoying the closeness of another feel easy and important.
What’s funny is there are even scenes of lead gal Ireland sitting down to pee and never at any time did it feel wrong, off putting or even embarrassing. It’s just life and along with a myriad of personal problems is simply another day in the existence of a gal trying to sort things out. To be invited, along with suitor Wes, to be a part of it is a rare treat indeed – for a five-star force like Buschel it’s another day at the office.
"SPARROWS DANCE" IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON DEMAND AND OPENS IN THEATRES IN NEW YORK ON AUGUST 23 FROM TRIBECA FILM.