“Ever Fallen,” a feature film directed by Mike White, assistant professor of communication arts at WSC, is a well-developed exploration of punk culture and romance.
The plot of “Ever Fallen” is intriguing and effortlessly paced. Each scene is right where it needs to be and serves its purpose without feeling like heavy-handed exposition.
A major theme in “Ever Fallen” is honesty. The striking close-ups White frequently gives the audience speak to that message. The proximity of the camera is unabashedly used to convey both closeness and separation between characters.
Coloring on the movie was completed by Ally Boyd, a digital film sophomore at WSC, thus further ensuring a bounty of pretty shots to look at.
The main character, Julie Page (Shelby Hagerdon) is from the northside of town. Despite her family’s well-to-do status, she feels trapped. Pressure from her mom to be perfect and bullying from other northside kids at school leaves Julie looking for a way out.
As fate would have it, she meets a local punk girl simply known as Ari (Ryan Shearer). Despite her own problems, Ari sees that she has a chance to make a difference in Julie’s life.
Through Ari, Julie is introduced to two local punk musicians: Remy Sinclair (Nathan Taubert) and Joey Costa (Max Henderson). Perhaps Julie can find freedom with some punk friends, the right music and a box of hair dye.
Remy’s music teacher, Mr. Foxhoven (Tim F. Hess), pushes him to consider studying music at Juilliard. Remy refuses. In his eyes, he’s already doing what he loves.
Like a true punk, Remy feels misunderstood by the world and Julie can relate. They are drawn together like magnets. Their blooming romance, however, has the potential to destroy not only Julie’s relationship with her mom, but also her friendship with Ari.
The plot revealed in the film is just the tip of the creative iceberg. Each character has a backstory, that, while not always thoroughly explored, influences their every choice. Even small details have a role in driving the plot forward.
My favorite bit of foreshadowing is a small line Remy has about needing to find the right inspiration to write a song on the piano instead of his guitar. This line pays dividends at a pivotal moment and is worth the price of admission alone.
Ultimately, “Ever Fallen” is yet another reminder of the potential of independent film in Nebraska. Five out of five stars.