›› Flyover Country
a film by Jim Fields.
2013 | 102 mins | US.
principal players: Mike Mecek / Russ Havlik, Myles Dabbs / Todd Rothery, Brent Spencer / English Professor, Colin Ferguson / John the Activist, Garrett Palensky / Jay, Jeremy Short / Ed, Megan Shepard / Diane, Keith Homan / Grandpa Havlik, Justin Parker / Good Looking Gay Guy, Shaun Vetick / Scott, Kevin Gibbs / Frank, Scott Kroeker / Church Minister, Ellen Gould / Melody, Colby Coash / Wayne, Moira Mangiameli / Aunt Martha, Jim Simmons / Uncle Joe, Joanna Kingsbury / Sarah, Andrew Fleer / Richard, Isaac Reilly / Mike, Eric Moyer / Keith and Greg Sechser as the Coffee Shop Owner.
Official Synopsis: "Todd and Russ, two twenty-something college students, meet in a contemporary English literature class. Soon they become good friends, but that friendship is tested when Russ finds out that Todd is openly gay. In addition, their lives become more complicated when all of Russ's family and friends begin to believe Russ is also gay. Things don't go well for Todd either, once his religious conservative sister and family find out the truth about his sexual orientation.
Surrounded by polarized friends and family, Russ and Todd's paths continue to cross, as they both search for a better life in Flyover Country."
In many ways this is a work of love from co-writer, co-producer, editor and director Jim Fields and to his credit, he brilliantly succeeds in depicting one man's struggle to come to terms with the sexual calling of his heart. Yet whilst the bigoted mindset of the political right mix with anti-gay sermons of the fire and brimstone variety, Fields is only too keen to move beyond condemnations perpetrated in the name of the Lord. Rather, this is a drama that vividly charts the volatile friendship between two men who lie at opposite ends of the Kinsey scale of human sexuality. Or do they?
To that end, Myles Dabbs is a natural in the role of out and proud Todd Rothery, having fallen for fellow student Russ and here cue Mike Mecek in the ever confused role of a man whose intolerant views and brutal actions form the ups and downs of their turbulent relationship. That their close bond is put to the test of time, equates to a film told by way of the seasons, chapters that culminate in a "one year later" poignant close of play.
Todd and Russ - friends forever? in Flyover Country.
Production wise and taking pride in giving first time actors their chance to shine in the celluloid spotlight; admittedly with varying results, Fields finds himself and true to indie form, having to work within the constraints of a limited budget. Not that this prevents him from intercutting his film with a series of picture postcard views of the state of Nebraska, before going all out to showcase the open hand of sexual acceptance, courtesy of Moira Mangiameli in the scene stealing role of Russ's open-minded Aunt Martha, a character that represents the polar opposite of Russ's opinionated Grandpa and here cue Keith Homan in a part that alarmingly is all too close to the truth.
Love Thy Neighbour in Flyover Country.
Co-written with Shaun Vetick who also features in the role of Scott, the result is a film with a big heart, one that acutely juxtaposes gay pride and no more so than the beauty of a same-sex wedding, with ingrained homophobia and that of the friendship between two men caught in its wake. It also marks the first gay themed film to be made in Omaha, Nebraska, a state that finds our rainbow friends exiting stage left to the gay marriage friendly haven of Iowa. Sure, there's a few negatives in the mix, but there's equally a treasure trove of touching moments to be savoured. Indeed and for a feature that sets out to illustrate the themes of friendship, love, acceptance, coupled with self-loathing and forgiveness, as set in the heartland of America, Fields frankly nails it on its cinematic head. And you cannot say more, than that.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - from the waist up.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.