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‘Fishbowl’ (review)

Produced by Kyle David Crosby,
Meg Dudley, Carlo Glorioso
Written by Stephen Kinigopoulos, Piero S. Iberti
Directed by Stephen Kinigopoulos, Alexa Kinigopoulos
Starring Rick Kain, Belle Shickle, Emily Peachey,
Bobby J. Brown, Aaron Marcus, Jaci Jones,
Alex Swenson, Brandon Wilsonz

 

In a small town in the middle of nowhere, everyone knows your business.

Fishbowl is a coming of age movie.

No wait, Fishbowl is a movie about religious hypocrisy.

Hmmm… Fishbowl is a movie about loss, pain and the mind’s desire to make sense of the insane.

Fishbowl is a mystery, sort of.

Fishbowl is, without question, sad.

If you don’t like sad movies, you can stop reading here. This one isn’t for you.

Rick Kain, plays the father of 3 teenage daughters. The mother is conspicuously absent from the real time narrative, but we see her throughout the film in regular flashback scenes as her fate is slowly revealed.

For Stephen and Alexa Kinigopolous, a brother sister directorial team, this is their first feature length film, largely funded by friends and family. For a first effort, with a limited budget, this is a really solid effort.

There are some things to like about this film. Rick Kain, journeyman stuntman and “that guy” does a great job in the lead, as a lost and broken man, trying to find meaning in his guilt and grief.

The young women who play Kain’s daughters, especially Caroline Coleman, as the youngest sister are all great. Coleman’s character is mute in the real time narrative, expressing herself through her facial expressions and a writing pad. However, when we see her in flashback she is singing and her voice is truly something special.

The other sisters put in fine performances as well, considering the script is generally lacking. My biggest problem was this film could not decide what it wanted to be.

There are sections of this film that paint in stark relief the sham that passes for Christianity and how the behavior, in many ways, of Christians, isn’t particularly nice at all. Small town church politics and nefarious mega-church pastors play a key role in the story. I think if the story was more focused on this aspect of small town life it could have been a more interesting overall film.

The other main theme of the film was the girls dealing with their dad’s decline and how they were still just trying to be teenage girls even though their family had been falling apart for some time. There was a head nod to the girls doing teenaged things and some ham handed religious imagery around Halloween costumes that was generally disappointing.

I think my biggest issue with the film was the storytelling. There is some odd foreshadowing in the way a blessing is given early in the film that never comes to pass, but the story never grabbed me and held me and made me care about the characters other than to feel sad for a broken family.

On the technical side I was fairly disappointed as well. The entire movie was muted visually. Now, if the muted visual was purposeful to demonstrate the bleakness of existence in this small town, I have less of a problem with it, but that seems a little high concept for this film’s basic themes. The shot choices weren’t eye catching and that pulled a mediocre story more to the middle of the road.

In the end, if you like sad films and have an hour and a half to kill, you could do worse than Fishbowl, but you could do a whole lot better.

2.5 Stars

Fishbowl is playing in select theaters and On Demand
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