Taking up star-crossed lovers can be a burden. Refreshing the theme while successfully limiting its built-in bromides doesn’t happen often. But writer-director Amy Seinmetz makes it happen with a simple, short film whose attention to human detail is so wise and tuned-in it leaves many fine dramas twice its length in the rear-view mirror.
And this is much about rear-view mirrors, since Seimetz’s characters, “white trash” Crystal (Kate Lyn Sheil) and Leo (Kentucker Audley), are situated mostly in a run-down car in Gulf Coast Florida trying to find a way out of a situation that ultimately has no way out: a killing.
Leo insist he has a way to solve their problem (“We gotta be smart.”); Crystal, a pouty woman-girl with a young daughter, is crazy in love with Leo, ensuring that the frantic, downward spiral has no breaks.
What’s certain is a body in the trunk. What can’t be gauged, only watched, is how the twosome reckons with a panic as deeper or deeper than love. Construction worker Leo insists on pragmatism; lost child Crystal just wants love and more love, that and an imagined dream house, as if to squint her eyes closed at everything that’s happened and continues to. Together, they’re like a walking compound fracture with the bone showing through.
Sheil’s China-doll Crystal is a wonder: a woman well beyond the verge of a nervous breakdown but able to survive on cartilage alone. With the camera burrowing into her the whole time, Sheil weds alarm to resignation as if her life depended on getting it right. She does that and more Audley’s desperate but distracted Leo matches her. Start to finish, it’s star-crossed to the nine’s, with perfect 10 performances.