Shuffle (Cinequest, Mar 11, 5pm, Camera 12 Theater).2012-03-12
by Richard von Busack
Lovell Milo (TJ Thyne) becomes unstuck in time in Shuffle, Kurt Kuenne's feature film follow up to his film-fest hit documentary Dear Zachary. (Shuffle is dedicated to the lost baby who was the subject of Kuenne's film.) Emulating the glowing black and white of film noir, Kuenne creates a mystery in the story of how Milo is dashed from time to time: one moment he's a little boy, another moment full-grown and married. The constant in his life is the aptly-named Grace (Paula Rhodes), the sweet-natured childhood sweetheart...that, and the strife with his physician father Orson (Chris Stone) who is trying to conceal the narcolepsy that has poisoned his life.
The pacing changes in this film, from the jagged first half an hour, where we're yoyoed in and out of Lovell's life, to the later moments where the mystery is solved: unhappily, it's solved in Capra-corn fashion, and when matters slow down, we can see where a little extra rehearsal would have been worthwhile. Gratuitous life-affirmation aside, it's a professional-looking mystery, crisply edited; Kuenne's visual ingenuity hits a peak in a Christmas section, where the holiday lights look malignant in black and white, foreshadowing the flashing lights of an ambulance to come.