A small town, best friends who are closer than brothers dreaming of someday leaving for the ‘city’. It is an archetype that has been told many times and many ways before. Despite all that, the basic narrative never really gets old. Because the premise is true and authentic to this day.Beneath the Harvest Sky tells the story of two teenage boys, Dominic and Casper. In many ways, the two are polar opposites of each other, but this does not get in the way of their fiercely loyal and loving friendship. Dominic is the good boy, the smart, hardworking one; the one who stays out of trouble in school, and then works hard in the potato harvest. While Casper is the typical town “bad boy;” the one who gets thrown out of school a lot , gets his girl pregnant, and, in his case, works for his father smuggling medication from Canada. The two boys make a pact, to save up all their money, buy a car and go to Boston to watch a Red Socks game. Therein lies the strength of the narrative, its ability to ground itself and play on a topic that could resonate with a lot of people, particularly small town dwellers. Wherever you are in the world, in any small rural town, there will always be two childhood friends who are making plans to leave. Callan McAulliffe (The Great Gatsby, I’m Number Four), and Emory Cohen (The Place Beyond the Pines) who play Casper and Dominic respectively, deliver a fine performance beyond their years. Callan McAuliffe shines as Dominic, and despite not playing the bad boy, he gives out this James Dean type of vibe which reminds me of Dean’s performance as Cal in East of Eden, wherein Dean conveys a lot of emotion with his eyes. Emory Cohen on the other hand is more physical, which works well with his character. Emory’s Casper enters the room and he dominates the screen, if Callan is Cal then Emory is more of Jim Stark. Emory delivers the quiet menace of someone you don’t want to mess with, but plays if off with the tenderness of someone who truly cares for those he loves. Veteran actor Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones), who plays Casper’s drug smuggling father, delivers an amazing supporting performance for the two boys. He is strong and pervasive on screen, crazy in the right touches, but surprisingly endearing even if his character is shady. The narrative and storyline is beautiful; even if the pacing is slow, it never really gets tiring. And although I have a problem with the ending, which I believe has become an all too common tool to create a dramatic climax; the movie over-all is an excellent watch. The husband and wife team of Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly wrote and made a wonderful, authentic film. Beneath the Harvest Sky is currently showing at the Tribeca Film Festival, and will have a limited theatrical release beginning May 2, 2014.
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