God of Love Reviews
Shot as a senior film project at NYU by Luke Matheny, "God of Love" tells the tale of a talented singer/dart thrower-combo of a man who is the singer of a jazz quartet. The young man, Raymond Goodfellow, is in love with the drummer, Kelly Moran, who is enraptured by his friend Fozzie. Thus begins your typical tale of a love triangle.
Raymond begins the film by praying. But the only thing he's ever prayed for is the returned affections of Kelly. He is rewarded one day after his band plays a set, with a box of magical darts, that will cause a person struck with them to become hopelessly in love with the first person they come into contact with for a period of six hours. He uses a dart on some friends, and finds out it works. They fall in love, and it lasts long after the six hours have gone by. He decides to try with Kelly, and as soon as the six hours are up, she loses affection for him, and he realizes that perhaps it wasn't meant to be. Walking back from another gig, we see Raymond with another dart in his hand, dropping back to "tie his shoe." Kelly and Fozzie stand a few feet in front of him, with Kelly looking lovingly at Fozzie. Raymond raises his dart, and strikes Fozzie, causing Fozzie to return Kelly's affections. The next to last scene shows Raymond singing at a third gig, to an audience filled with happy couples, and a twinkle of happiness in Raymond's eye, as his friends in love stand behind him in the band. He concludes by driving off into the sunset on his scooter, this time with a bow and arrows strapped to his back.
Wonderfully scored with smooth jazz highlights, the film does a good job of keeping what could become a lengthy endeavor contained in a nineteen-minute short film. The film also delivers startling good acting performances from what are assumedly a film student and his friends that he pulled together. "God of Love" may remind viewers of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's feature, "Once," in its uniquely simplistic charm. There's no real pretenses here, and the film really sells itself on the raw idea that things only work if you let them run their course, rather than try to force something that shouldn't be so.
This year's Oscar winner for Live-Action Short is a beautifully made, charmer of a film even with the really odd presence of its writer and director Luke Matheny. He's definitely better behind the camera than on screen but he's serviced beautifully by some lovely turns from the rest of his cast and an absolutely gorgeous eye by cinematographer Bobby Webster. It's quaint and sweet and above all entertaining.
In the film, a lounge singer and championship dart player named Raymond Goodfellow is desperately in love with a fellow band-mate, but she only has love for his best friend. The crooner prays daily to God for a way for his beloved to fall in love with him. One evening, his prayers are answered when he's given a box of magical darts with Cupid-like powers. Raymond decides to use the darts to make his own love connection.
The film is included as a special feature in the blu-ray release of 127 Hours.Highly recommended!
Ray, played by writer/director Luke Matheny, is the lead singer of a jazz quartet whose drummer, played by Marian Brock, he secretly pines for. Brock has her own unrequited love to deal with in guitarist Fozzie, played by Christopher Hirsch. The lever for the action is that Ray is both jazz singer and champion dart thrower...I did say it was "quirky" after all. Ray receives a mysterious package from the "Olympus Foundation" containing some special "Love Darts" with instructions for use and Ray's pursuit of Kelly through alternative means ensues.
Matheny populates his story with the kind of idiosyncratic characters you find either in colleges or Napoleon Dynamite's hometown. The story is literally classic in derivation, with nods to the Cupid myth which is its backbone and a bit of Midsummer's Night Dream thrown in for good measure. But it is not stuck there. It also inhabits a piece of post-modernity's landscape expressing confusion over appropriate relationships, lack of intimacy, a nostalgic search for answers in "simpler times" (with a very funny homage of sorts to the movie Witness) and a literal understanding by Ray, that ultimately not only is their a destiny for him, but that he controls the destiny of all who yearn for love...capricious though it might be.
In the end, this 18 minute joy ride has taken us on a journey from Ray's own self interest to his understanding, that manipulated self interest is in fact, wrong. We all get the message that unrequited love may be unrequited for a reason, and yes, even for quirky people who perform jazz while their lead singer croons and does dart throwing tricks, love is out there... albeit sometimes as the end of a sharp point.