Monday, July 2, 2018

Daniel Peddle returns with a back-woods, southern-set tale entitled MOSS

TrustMovies was very impressed with young filmmaker Daniel Peddle's earlier narrative movie, Sunset Edge, and so was quite looking forward to seeing his latest -- a North Carolina seacoast-set, slice-of-life coming-of-age film titled eponymously with the name of its main character, MOSS.

Abloom with the area's flora and fauna -- marijuana to alligators -- the movie stars a young film newcomer, Mitchell Slaggert (shown at right), who possesses a nice face, a great body and just about enough charisma to hold an audience for the requisite 80-minute running time.

Mr. Peddle, shown at left, here concentrates much more heavily on a single character than he did in Sunset Edge, which was an ensemble piece, and his Moss is a young man with a lot of problems -- too many of which are laid out via rather clunky exposition.

In no time at all we've learned that today is Moss' birthday, that his mom died in childbirth and that he feels his dad blames him for this.

To escape the fraught father-son relationship, Moss says he is going to visit his kindlier grandmother but stops at his best friend's
houseboat to pick up some drugs and then gets waylaid en route by an attractive older woman (Christine Marzano, below), with whom he quickly bonds, gets high (using an apple as conduit!) and has sex -- all of which saddles the film was an element of male wish-fulfillment/fantasy.

This is handled reasonably well, however, so that if we wish to see it as fantasy, we certainly can. We can also view it as a Southern-set coming-of-age tale, a chance for some necessary parent/child bonding, and/or a warning about the consequences of being late to your grandmother's house.

The Southern atmosphere, fairly dripping with sloth and humidity, is captured well, and the performances are as good as the sparse but not nearly deep enough script will allow.

That we learn next to nothing about the woman or the best friend (Dorian Cobb, above) is perhaps acceptable, but concerning Moss and his dad (nicely played by Billy Ray Suggs, shown at bottom), we learn only enough to be able to ascertain, by film's end, that this has proven a break-through day for them both. Which smacks more of manufacture than of anything organic.

Still, young Slaggert (above, who has modeled for Calvin Klein) is a feast for the eyes. He, along with the ambience Peddle presents, just might constitute a movie worth watching.

From Breaking Glass Pictures and running just 80 minutes, Moss opens this Friday, July 6, in New York City (at the Cinema Village) and in Los Angeles (at Laemmle's Music Hall 3) before hitting home video the following Tuesday, July 10 -- for purchase and/or rental.

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