"Memory Lane" Makes for an Impressive Start for a New Filmmaker Review

There are few movies that immediately spring to mind as being directly influenced by William Hurt’s exquisite and unsettling turn in 1980’s Altered States, and yet, Memory Lane seems like one of them. In its irregular tone and surreal atmosphere, director Shawn Holmes makes a no-budget debut that shoots for Christopher Nolan and David Cronenberg, and is perhaps more admirable for its ambition than execution. With audio that sounds like it’s from the onboard mic and the all-telling limited locations of a small flick, the film never elevates beyond a promising student thesis from a kid who took Post-Modernist film courses and stayed up late at the library exorcising the demons of David Lynch’s psyche.

Nick Boxer (Michael Guy Allen) saves a girl, Kayla (Meg Braden) from jumping off a bridge, falling speedily in love with her and rushing right to a marriage proposal in a generic montage of “Falling For You” shots. Kayla proceeds to kill herself anyway and Nick, grieving for his newfound, long-last love, tries to kill himself as well, with less final results. As his friends rescue him, he finds himself fluctuating in a place between life and death, transported back to his first moment finding Kayla on the bridge. Fate and Providence intervene, revealing pieces to a puzzle that he has to put together, by re-almost-killing himself again and again.

It’s seems like intentionally failed suicide would be a delicate balance, but Nick pulls it off over and over until he gets the answers he needs. Shawn Holmes should be commended for his efforts. The film is an interesting, if not excellent, product and his ambitions were initially non-commercial. The film premiered for free on YouTube and racked up some +20k views in the first couple of days, before hitting a couple of film festivals and being taken down in lieu of a distributor cashing in. As a debut story, it’s not a bad one and Holmes, while Hollywood may not be kicking in his door, managed to announce himself with a modicum of press. Next time around, possibly with an actual budget, he’ll have a real shot to introduce himself on a larger scale.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

Extras include a director commentary, deleted scenes, short films, promo vids, screen tests, and trailers.

"Memory Lane" is on sale March 24, 2015 and is not rated. Drama, Sci-Fi. Written and directed by Shawn Holmes. Starring Meg Barrick.

Kyle North • Staff Writer


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