The notably cinematic storytelling, suggesting influence from the school
of minimalist Asian cinema, presents Michael (Michael Idemoto), who
manages his aunt's hilly duplex and lives upstairs from frisky tenant
Lori (Eugenia Yuan). Lori likes Michael but has frequent and frequently
noisy sex with b.f. Justin (Matt Westmore). Michael runs his family's
auto repair business by day, and reads books by Camus at night, while
remaining quite attentive to his aunt (Shizuko Hoshi).
In his own subdued way, Michael has a crush for Lori, but like so many
of the film's emotional undercurrents, this is revealed gradually, with
utterly no manipulation of events for an overt effect. Less subtle is
the appearance of Darcy (Jacqueline Kim) in a club that Michael haunts,
seemingly leading him on to a tenuous sexual encounter while dropping
hints that she's not for him. "I'm not anyone's type," Darcy
baldly tells him. "Men don't want to be around me; they only think
On such delicate and dangerous ground does Byler's film travel, managing
even the convincing revelation that Darcy and Lori have known each other
for awhile, and that Michael's meeting this mysterious woman was no
As Darcy nudges the four central characters together, Byler wisely
bypasses dramatic fireworks for what emerges as a more despairing and
bittersweet denouement than might have been expected. The deft shading
he elicits from his thesps is of a piece with his dramatics and his
understated, artful approach to compositions and movement.
Repping one of the best video-to-film transfers yet, pic looks terrific
in Rob Humphreys' lensing, which dwells on deep, dappled shadows and
a striking use of high-intensity colors.
Camera (Alpha Cine Labs color), Rob Humphreys; editor, Byler, Ken Kashima;
music, Michael Brook; songs, Cody Chestnutt; production designer, Robert
Shinso; costume designer, Marianne Kai; sound, Gary Day; sound designer,
Bradley North; assistant director, Marc Ambrose; casting, Stacy V. Herman.
Reviewed at Kodak screening room, L.A., June 6, 2002. (In Los Angeles
Film Festival.) Running time: 85 MIN.