“Out and About” takes viewers on a contemplative journey through the quiet streets of a New York City suburb, as we follow the introspective footsteps of Jeff Fisher (played by Peter Callahan), a middle-aged divorced man.
Directed and written by Peter Callahan himself, this indie film offers a unique perspective on mundane moments, reflecting on life’s subtle complexities and societal observations.
Its premise is quite intriguing and somewhat cleverly executed albeit with a few flaws.
One of the film’s standout qualities is its ability to capture the essence of a seemingly ordinary walk and turn it into an introspective exploration. Callahan‘s direction, coupled with David Tumblety‘s cinematography, beautifully captures the serene suburban landscape, painting a vivid picture of a community teeming with nostalgia and hidden stories. Most of the characters refer to the community as a village. But the visuals paint a stark contrast. You are presented with a beautiful suburban area that is ripe with memories and fresh starts. The film’s visual aesthetics enhance the contemplative atmosphere and add depth to the narrative.
At each turn, Jeff is sent down a road he is familiar with whilst growing up. He reacts and interacts with the people he meets along his walk through the neighbourhood. It is either someone he has known whilst growing up or someone who is new to the neighbourhood. But through it all, we get to hear his innermost thoughts in the form of a voiceover voiced by himself. What he says in these interactions is either close to what he is thinking or far from it. Nonetheless, the depth of the premise is getting to see him battle with convictions.
The film’s slow pacing and lack of a conventional narrative allow viewers to immerse themselves in the quiet introspection of Jeff’s thoughts, evoking a sense of contemplation and self-reflection.
Peter Callahan‘s performance as Jeff Fisher is commendable, portraying a character who is both affable and flawed. He appears very likeable, your average nosy neighbour who seems to be too nosy and a bit too interested in everyone’s business. And when necessary, Jeff is snobbish and almost irritable.
Jeff‘s inner monologue provides an intimate glimpse into his mind, revealing his crude thoughts, insecurities, and occasional political incorrectness which he tries to hide whilst interacting with people. While this approach adds depth to the character and explores the complexities of human nature, it can at times come across as excessive, hindering the audience’s ability to fully connect with him. You are torn between listening to Jeff speak or paying attention to his thoughts.
The film’s runtime is 80 minutes and sets the entire story over the cause of Jeff’s afternoon walk. The editing style with the cuts and scene switches almost convinces you that the entire film is a 80mins one-take.
Despite its unique premise and contemplative nature, “Out and About” occasionally suffers from an uneven execution that may leave some viewers wanting more. The lack of a strong plot or clear character arcs can make it challenging to maintain engagement throughout the film’s runtime. Also some of the conversations and encounters Jeff has with his neighbours and acquaintances while capturing the nuances of suburban life, often feel disconnected and inconsequential, resulting in an overall lack of narrative cohesion.
Some viewers might also feel like the film focuses so much on Jeff and drowns out all the other characters and what could be their unique backstories and characterizations that could have further broadened the depth of this film.
However, the film does succeed in its portrayal of suburban dynamics and societal observations. Through the lead’s interactions with the people he encounters on his walk, the film subtly touches on issues of social class, privilege, and the complexities of human relationships.
Callahan’s script delves into the contradictions and imperfections of everyday life, exploring the dichotomy between our internal thoughts and the image we project to the outside world.
I would rate this 7 out of 10. In many simple ways, this film is truly brutally honest, poignant and funny.
In conclusion, “Out and About” offers an introspective and visually pleasing cinematic experience. It provides a unique perspective on everyday life, inviting viewers to reflect on their thoughts and perceptions. Despite its flaws, it is an indie film that warrants appreciation for its attempts to explore the subtleties of human existence and the beauty found within the mundane.
“Out and About” is available on DVD and Digital HD on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube Movies, Cable and Satellite On Demand starting May 16, do well to give it a watch.