MOURNING HAS BROKEN (Jason and Brett Butler). 77 minutes. Opens Friday (January 24). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
Let's be clear about one thing. The Butler brothers made Mourning Has Broken with $1,000.
The feature was funded through indie maverick Ingrid Veninger's 1KWave Challenge, which awarded cash to five filmmakers daring enough to make a film on a minuscule budget. That a watchable film with a beginning, middle and end is the result is a victory, so bravo.
Robert Nolan stars as a nameless man who one morning finds his wife dead and decides to go about his daily routine to put off dealing with his loss. It's an intriguing premise in which the mundane becomes a burden because the thought of a corpse at home hovers over everything. Some fine camera and editing work dial up routine annoyances like a red light with no oncoming traffic.
Having set the stage for a fine, minimalist mood piece, the film veers off course into antic, broad comedy. Amateur actors (the Butlers included) play everyday pests, reaching for SNL heights with jokes that even professional comedians couldn't make funny.
The film is lovely when it takes itself seriously but obnoxious when it doesn't.