If someone has absolutely nothing better to do, and would love to watch a 90-minute film filled with straight drama, then look no farther than Summer Night: a “coming-of-age story” featuring a surprise pregnancy, relationship-status “whoas,” and plenty of “what-should-I-do-with-my-life”-shenanigans. All this can be spied with both eyes Friday, July 12, 2019, either via streaming, or during a limited theatrical release through Samuel Goldwyn Films.
Viewers expecting a laugh-and-cry-out-loud Rom-Com/Dramedy will suffer many consequences for expecting too much, because Summer Night is a straight Drama – but do not let that statement deter someone from finding out why. One opinion would state how 90% of the characters are hardly worth a care, and that watching some of the occurring instances on the big screen will cause the stomach to ache while pleading aloud for the final second of the movie to arrive.
This all in mind, what keeps Summer Night afloat is a crew of some of the most fantastic filmmakers Hollywood has ever seen. In fact, actor-turned first-time Director Joseph Cross (Untraceable 2008, Last Weekend 2014) will prove to the world he is more than capable of making a movie as he unfolds a tale centering around a bevy of possibly-college-aged friends getting ready to attend a show at a venue called The Alamo. This all takes place during the course of one whole day, but at every turn drama ensues. Oh, the drama.
Although many of the characters involved in Summer Night are bland, and may seem entirely lifeless, there are a select few standouts to mention which may better sell the synopsis. This includes alleged-bassist/band member Taylor (Callan McAuliffe: Robot Overlords 2014, The Walking Dead series), who happens to meet attractive Dana (Ella Hunt: Intruders 2011, Anna and the Apocalypse 2017) after being jumped by a duo of robbers during a bike ride. Dana dresses Taylor’s wounds, and after much cute, genuine conversation, a spark ignites a romance they both did not see coming. Will Dana and Taylor get together? The viewer will hope so after watching all the other characters interact with one another.
The on-screen chemistry between McAuliffe and Hunt is a breath of fresh, airy popcorn. Their believable reactions to one another made it seem as if the actors were truly falling in love. Aside from a slightly contrived skinny-dipping scene, seeing Dana and Taylor all lovey-dovey will melt a few hearts.
Another great presence is Actress Victoria Justice (Zoey 101 series, Victorious series), whose sharp-minded, hard-working, race-equipped Honda-driving character, Harmony, has a date with teacher Jameson (Ellar Coltrane: The Circle 2017, Blood Money 2017), who may or may not like another girl. Harmony and Jameson attend the show together, sharing stories over drinks while bands play on a stage not too far from them.
Justice’s performance is an absolute treat. She steals the entire show every time the camera is focused on her, blending professionalism with genuine, humanly reactions in her acting chops. She not only makes the conversations with Jameson appear real, she also keeps the viewer from wondering why Jameson went out on a date looking like an unkempt slob.
Summer Night might appeal to those who enjoy watching dramatic things happening to overly-dramatic people, but the biggest appeal is the way in which the movie was filmed: the camerawork is phenomenal. Some scenes are one long, roaming take capturing perfectly-timed conversations and happenings to certain characters within the frame. A lot of this imaginative camerawork occurs during the concert. Even the close-ups, cut-outs, and second-unit footage work so well together.
Behind the fantastic camerawork is one heck of a Sound Department, which may have been best friends with the Editing Department, because, during every scene – which may cut here and there, or focus on a different character – there is never ever a single drop in sound. The conversations, outside sounds, and the music playing at times are exquisitely consistent within each frame. This aspect gives off a semi-realism to the film which has a way of luring the viewer deeper and deeper under its spell.
Summer Night may not be for everyone, but there is a lot of good behind the stale, dull walls that may have been heavily painted within this review. As for serious cinephiles, Summer Night is filled to the brim with outstanding filmmakers and fantastic filmmaking, and will prove to be a wide-beamed spotlight for Director Joseph Cross. For this and that, Cryptic Rock gives Summer Night 2.5 out of 5 stars.