While difficult to categorize, genre wise, Pull is a nice romantic drama with subtle life lessons that is nice to watch.
Today’s film is the award winning 2015 short Canadian drama Pull written and directed by Heya Waseem and starring Paula Brancati, Chloe Rose and Raymond Ablack. It is currently in the competition of the 2017 winter awards at the Fandependent Film Festival.
Pull focuses on Alyssa (Paula Brancati) who has just moved to the big city with her boyfriend (Raymond Ablack) to set up a new life for themselves. As Alyssa starts to adjust her boyfriend must leave town on business for a week leaving her alone in an unfamiliar place. While working out Alyssa is strangely drawn toward her neighbor Chloe (Chloe Rose) and starts to have dreams about her. After a chance meeting when Alyssa forgets her mail downstairs Chloe and she become fast friends as they discuss their various experiences in life. While the budding friendship seems to be leading toward a more intimate encounter despite having only officially met that night Chloe informs Alyssa that she is moving away at the end of the week leaving Alyssa to contemplate all of her life choices and the strange road life brings you down when the two share a brief kiss and yet remains behind to be with her boyfriend.
It is hard to categorize Pull into any one film genre. While it is billed as a drama it has some serious elements of romance to it and even though it is very subtle you could easily fit this film into that category as well. Now I for one have never been that interested in romance films and generally find them full of cliches and ham-fisted references however Pull manages to bring the elements of loneliness and longing to the forefront without being heavy handed. The story is very subtle and thoughtfully written by Heya Waseem and really brings to life this rather touching tale of chance encounters and how quickly a new relationship can influence you even if you had just met the person. This whirlwind tale comes to life with the fine performances of the two main actresses of the film.
At first I wasn’t keen on the fact that the film was told in the past tense with a voice overlay throughout a fair deal of the movie but I quickly came to appreciate the skilled performance of Paula Brancati. Her character of Alyssa has a certain vulnerability that is refreshing to see in a main character while not being so overwhelming that she becomes unbelievable and useless as a character. This is a common trap that many directors fall into and utterly ruins a film but is handled here with grace and poise. Paula Brancati’s acting is sincere and she brings nuance to this young woman who is struggling to find her place in the world. This is contrasted by the character of Chloe who seems to know exactly who she is and what she wants in the world. A drifter character is always a risk to bring to a movie as the concept is easy to get wrong and venture into the cliche but like most things in Pull it is handled very well. Chloe Rose brings a lively energy to the film with her character of Chloe that is a deep contrast to the often morose Alyssa and the two really work well together on screen. The budding romance/friendship between the two ladies is very believable with their on screen chemistry and really brings the story to life in a positive way.
The production value of Pull is a bit of a mixed bag really. If I had one problem with the film it would be the cinematography. The picture quality of the film is not quite up to the great standard that the well written story commands with it’s grainy look and several artifacts that appear on the screen at various times. It is almost unheard of these days to get a film that looks like it was filmed during the eighties instead of the twenty first century, While the camera work is steady and the scenes themselves are shot with care the entire effect is somewhat diminished by the poor picture quality and strange white pixels that show up randomly in several scenes. That said however despite the over all grainy quality of the film it never gets to dark to see in the nighttime scenes which is all to common in Canadian films I have found for some reason.
The audio work is also a bit of a mixed bag just like the visual department. While the characters are always heard clearly there is a slight tinny sound to the voice overs that is a little distracting. While the microphones are obviously high quality it is clear that they dubbed the voice over in a sound booth and really doesn’t fit in with the rest of the dialog that sound more natural. I think with a little more time in post production they might have cleared that issue up and made it sound more organic and fitting to the otherwise enjoyable film. The musical score of the film is very nice with it’s mellow sounds and relaxing instruments, it is very fitting for the film and really brings the scenes together properly.
While Pull is a difficult film to categorize it wasn’t a bad little film when all is said and done. If you are a fan of romantic dramas that give a life lesson in a subtle and careful way then at just over fifteen minutes Pull is definitely worth a watch. It is well acting and has while not a perfect production value it does manage to bring a very concise film that isn’t to hard on the eyes and can serve as a good reference film to any upcoming directors to show you what is possible if you simply get out there and try.