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Natalie Bible‘s debut feature arrives courtesy of Absinthe Productions, and a large shot of the potent liquor for which it’s named would go a long way towards making this surreal psychological thriller more palatable. Windsor Drive strains so hard to produce a hallucinogenic effect that narrative coherence flies out the window.
T.R. Gough‘s oblique screenplay concerns River Miller (Tommy O’Reilly), a mentally unstable, aspiring actor going off the deep end after the suicide (or was it murder?) of his beautiful girlfriend Jordana (Jillian Murray, frequently seen in flashbacks in which she’s rocking a red bikini). After dumping Jordana’s successor, the unrelentlingly needy Brooke (Samaire Armstrong), River decamps to Hollywood where he hopes to land a role in an upcoming film by a hotshot female director.
He finds a room in a decaying ‘20s era mansion with hipster Wulfric (Kyan DuBois), who sports a waxed moustache, and the Goth-like Ivy (Anna Biani), a couple whose relationship is enigmatic at best. In addition to enjoying a secret liaison with Ivy, River also begins courting the wholesome June (Mandy Musgrave), who not by coincidence works at the agency casting the film. Although initially resistant to his advances due to her understandable aversion to dating actors, she eventually succumbs to his lupine charms. Suffice it to say that it doesn’t work out very well.
Concentrating on depicting River’s descent into madness, director Bible resorts to a countless array of visual tricks that mainly involve framing and reframing the action from various angles and perspectives. Using repetition as a leitmotif and heavily employing optical effects, jagged editing and an oppressive musical score, the tedious film attempts to immerse us in its central character’s fractured emotional state without providing any clear insight as to what’s caused it. Lacking a compelling storyline and convincing performances, Windsor Drive ultimately proves a dead end.
Production: Absinthe Productions
Cast: Tommy O’Reilly, Mandy Musgrave, Samaire Armstrong, Jilian Murray, Anna Biani, Matt Cohen, Kyan DuBois
Director/editor: Natalie Bible
Screenwriter: T.R. Gough
Producers: Brieanna Steele, David Palmer, Natalie Bible
Executive producers: T.R. Gough, Sharon Meredith
Director of photography: Carl Bartels
Production designer: Bri Renae
Costume designer: Natalie O’Brien
Composer: Karsten Shreve
Not rated, 83 min.