There’s an official trailer on the website.  Check it out.

Actually, here, youtube:

The first of a double bill that Liz and I did on Tuesday evening at QFest, The Four-Faced Liar definitely turned out much better than expected.  It’s a sort of romantic/dramatic comedy, set in the Greenwich Village section of New York City.  A couple, Molly and Greg, just moved into the city (well, the boyfriend did, the girlfriend’s been there for a while it seems), and head off to a bar, which is the title of the film.  There they run into Trip, his girlfriend Chloe, and Trip’s roommate, Bridget.  Both couples seem stable enough, though everyone has their own problems with commitment.  Still, the two couples and the fifth wheel (honestly, Bridget isn’t one, she’s just there to look for someone to sleep with) hit it off well, and they become fast friends.  Bridget and Molly bond over Emily Bronte, and soon find they have sexual tensions between them.  Bridget, never one to fall in love, seems to be doing just that, while Molly is finding herself drawn into Bridget while keeping her attraction a secret from Greg.

The surprising part of this movie is how well it deals with the normal cliches inherent in this genre.  The writing is tight, with snappy dialogue between the characters, and a proper enough build up for each of the characters to grow with each other and out of each other.  Greg, a country type guy, is too tight and controlling in the city, unsure of what to do but not wanting Molly to get away.  Molly is stuck between two worlds and doesn’t know how to tread both of them at once.  Bridget, once she figures out she’s falling in love, wants to reform herself in a way to make herself more appealing to Molly.  Trip has relationship issues of his own: he likes Chloe, but he has an inner urging to not want to be tied down.  He forgets anniversaries, play dates, etc., while also going after other women, often times in full view of Chloe.  Chloe is the only one I don’t seem to get, mainly because she really doesn’t have much to get: she somehow puts up with Trip’s tomfoolery when other women walk away, and she does in fact leave at one point, and for good.  She’s strong and independent, thankfully.

The film is nicely film as well.  Probably the best sequence occurs in the bar during New Year’s Eve.  Everyone is drinking, and the music is full blast.  The camera moves in close repeatedly, stuttering quickly and drifting slowly from one face to another, from one couple to the next.  Molly and Bridget constantly eye each other, avoiding the unknowing gaze of Greg but all too knowing gaze of Trip.  They play a quick game of “Never Have I Ever” (a mainstay throughout the film), and both reveal to each other a deep truth, a carnal urge.  Credit the actors for doing a great job with the sequence, but also Jacob Chase, the director.  This is his first full length feature, and he handled that sequence brilliantly.

After the viewing, the writer of the film, Marja Lewis Ryan (who plays Bridget) came out for a Q&A about the film.  It was rather insightful: four of the five actors (the actress who plays Chloe is the exception) all went to NYU together and graduated in 2006, becoming friends along the way.  Ryan originally wrote this as a one-act play and presented it in Los Angeles.  A producer suggested to her to make this into a feature length film, and that she did, expanding the cast from two central characters to five central characters.  She explained the troubles of getting filming permits and finding places to film for free to reduce costs (the film has an unlisted budget, though I imagine it was extremely small).  The outdoor shots and bar scenes were done in New York City, while the apartment scenes were built on a sound stage in California (Ryan joked: “Do you really think NYC apartments have enough space for what we wanted to do?”).

Luckily, and incredibly, for this film, the producers reached an agreement with several companies for DVD release rights, international release rights, and VOD release rights.  The DVD, Ryan told us, would be coming out in December, with the VOD release coming around the same time.  Take the time to check it out whenever it does.  The movie was a pleasant surprise.