Audrey the Trainwreck
is the sixth feature by director Frank V. Ross, and, as far as I am able to verify, it is also his sixth feature to include neither a character named Audrey nor a train wreck. But if the main title is not literally descriptive, we are given a subtitle, “Or…These things happen in threes.” The subtitle appears over what is presumably the second of “these things,” a tire blow out, which follows an unlucky bar injury, which I am assuming to be the first. This hint that a third thing is about to happen helps build suspense, and at under 90 minutes the movie is short enough so the tension can build and climax at a natural pace and never wear out it’s welcome. The tension is also helped along by the comic use of a loose egg rolling on a refrigerator shelf (the level of the shelf varies between the scenes).
Absent a titular character or an accident along the BNSF, instead, we get Ron Hogan (Anthony Baker), a purchaser of ATM parts in his late 20s. He’s not an underachiever or a slacker. He may not look you in the eye, but he doesn’t mumble. He hangs out with his friends and co-workers. And he likes his Warsteiner beer. But he harbors some quiet discontentment or disappointment over the way his life is turning out. Ross does a great job at capturing mundanity without making the film itself mundane.
Audrey opens establishing Ron as kind of a loner, though not one necessarily by intention or by choice. In the opening scene he is the guy you talk to while you’re waiting for the person you really want to talk to finish his or her conversation with somebody else. During an emergency room visit resulting from the first the three “things,” a stray dart to the back, we see a certain sexual frustration, which comes across masterfully in a scene summarized by the frames from 3 consecutive shots below. Ron is sitting in the waiting room across from a female patient (Amy Judd). There’s fast cut of the woman in her medical gown; the shot tracks similar to the path of an uncomfortably wondering eye that doesn’t quite know where to settle. The countershot is Ron avoiding eye contact, looking up and to the right, followed by a shot of the woman looking him directly and flirtatiously in the eye.
This use of a subjective point of view is used frequently in scenes that include Ron and women, from a date with Kate (played by Rebecca Spence), to a friend’s girlfriend in a slightly revealing camisole, to a coworker exposing her lower back as she bends down to tie her shoe at a volley ball game. To be fair, Ron’s not a creepy guy; he’s just lonely and looking.
After a series of failed dates, Ron eventually meets Stacy (Alexi Wasser). She is a driver for a package delivery service, who, like Ron, rigidly follows a routine that does not offer much variety from one day to the next. Their relationship builds slowly. And as they grow into a couple we really want to root for, we are reminded that a third thing still has to come. When the third event comes, it is not as dramatic as the title suggests, but Ron’s understated self-discovery just prior to the event can potentially have an effect as life-changing.
Since I just saw Tiny Furinure earlier this week, I thought it worth including this frame of the post-credits “Thanks” that includes a shout out to Lena Dunham.
Incidentally, Frank Ross is raising money on Kickstarter.com for his next project. For more information check out: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1102177896/tiger-tail-in-blue