Pit Stop Reviews
This is 20 minute short stretched out to an hour and twenty.
Frightfully boring. Don't bother.
In two main protagonists are two men, Gabe (Bill Heck) and Ernesto (Marcus DeAnda), who live in a tiny Texan town. Both are (barely) out gay men recovering from past relationships.
Gabe used to be a married man who fell in love with another and ultimately lost him. He now lives with his ex-wife Shannon (Amy Seimetz) and their daughter. Both are lonely and trying to find a new life to build, slightly jealous of each other but ultimately supportive; melodrama is all in the past, hurt feelings privately processed and replaced by love of the platonic kind.
Ernesto has recently broken up with Luis (Alfredo Maduro), a younger man who also still lives with his ex-partner. Their situation is still fresh and volatile; Ernesto feels responsible for Luis, who is passive in moving on. Ernesto is also haunted by an older and deeper former love who lies in a hospital, comatose.
We follow Gabe and Ernesto lead lonely, deeply melancholic lives. Their existence is one of stagnation, but this subtle, very quiet movie is anything but boring. There is genuine emotion, intellectual analysis and warmth in the different character interactions that makes the film feel exceptionally real. Somehow in its low key approach "Pit Stop" is intense, Yen Tan's direction as close to the characters as you can get. The actors all shine, bringing additional depth to perfectly scripted scenes of nuanced dialog.
There are too many movies about two people gravitating towards each other, but "Pit Stop" is so much more than that. The predictable fact that Gabe and Ernesto ultimately meet in the end is nothing like in "Sleepless in Seattle". The men find comfort in each other's arms- at least momentarily- but this is not a magical romantic solution to their melancholy. Loneliness saturates their existence, yes, but their sadness runs deeper. Gabe is a construction worker, Ernesto is a clerk in a hardware store; they are barely pulling through. The silent vastness of Texas echoes their state, the community's insistence on discreetness oppresses them. In a way the film exists more in the characters' rich past than it does in their present condition, let alone their supposed future. But "Pit Stop" isn't a hopeless movie, on the contrary. The characters' strength is as apparent as their plight.
Here we have a model example of a movie where not a lot is apparently going on but that engrosses you completely. It's an emotional, thought provoking experience that pulls you in from the very start and makes you live the lives of the characters with them. Yen Tan doesn't use any gimmicks on the directing side either, but the scenes and their common aesthetics are absolutely beautiful in their very homeliness. Here's drama at its most honest, moving, contemplative and wise.
Slow story.. Messy editing.. but will overwhelm you with its depth and nice performances. With two very remarkable scenes, One when Ernesto talks to his leaving boyfriend, and the other is the last romantic great scene.