Rated: Not Rated

        Films with multiple story lines are nothing new. Some films have done it poorly, such as Babel, Go, Coffee and Cigarettes and Cloud Atlas. (These are the films that are hard to follow throughout, and whose payoff is either weak, makes no sense, or both.) And some films have done it exceedingly well, such as Pulp Fiction, Snatch, Four Rooms and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. (These films are easy to follow, despite their busy plotlines, and are entertaining, with terrific and surprising endings that tie things up neatly.)
        But whether a film with multiple storylines is good or bad, they all have something in common: they were difficult to write, and difficult to make. Sure it can be easy to write four or more short stories; the trick lies in tying them together in a way that both isn’t forced, and makes sense.
People 'Chapters' List (Photo courtesy of Shane McGoey)

People "Chapters" List (Photo courtesy of Shane McGoey)

        Writer/director Shane McGoey decided to take on this challenge with his first feature film
People.  The film is made up of six stories; five seemingly separate, and then the last which ties them together in epic and unexpected fashion.
        After watching the film I emailed a few questions to Shane. His responses made one thing immediately clear: I need to watch it again. Several of his answers alluded to the symbolism contained within each story. I had noticed some symbolism while watching, such as the guy wearing a
People T-shirt, and the names of each chapter themselves, but according to what Shane told me, I missed most of it.
        But missing some of the finer details and deeper meanings doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy this film on the first go-round; quite the contrary. Before the first shot appears on screen, an interesting, if not slightly ominous little note presents itself in the bottom, right corner: “This film is meant to be taken in small doses.” It doesn’t stay long enough to give it much thought, but it sticks with you as you watch each chapter unfold. Perhaps if I had heeded its recommendation I would’ve caught more of the details, that’s curiosity and stubbornness for you…there was no way I was taking it in small doses after seeing that!
        Within the first few minutes of the first chapter it’s clear that
People isn’t your typical indie film fare. It’s missing that home-movie feel, and variable sound quality that is emblematic of so many indie films as the filmmakers struggle through their first big production. It’s also clear that every…single…shot…was painstakingly thought out and crafted, the way a painter would. Every scene is deliberate, and every place you find your eyes wandering is intentional.
All of these people are connected, but how? Find out in People! (Photo courtesy of Shane McGoey)

All of these people are connected, but how? Find out in People! (Photo courtesy of Shane McGoey)

        Another thing that sets the film apart is the caliber of acting. In many indie films the actors’ inexperience is evident in the delivery of each line. Sentences and emotions come out forced and unnatural, seeming almost robotic.
People isn’t like that though. Although none of the actors are well known, and many of them don’t have much experience thus far, it was easy to believe that each of them was their character. Their line delivery and mannerisms seemed as natural and effortless as that you’d see from friends in a casual setting. Shane and crew were lucky in that they ended up with such a skilled cast.
        While many industries are competitive, I’m not sure any are more so than the film industry. With the technology available now at reasonable prices, it’s easy for anyone with an idea (good or bad) to find a camera, tablet or phone and start recording, for better or worse. With so much competition it can be next to impossible to stand out from the crowd, but if anyone has a chance it’s Shane McGoey with his film
People is a complex, subtle film that warns you to take it slow before it even starts, lest you miss the all-important details (as I did). It’s a film that will change with each viewing as you gain new perspective, and notice things you’d missed before. And finally, it’s an exquisite portrait of how interconnected we all are, whether we realize it or not.

People is not rated, was written and directed by Shane McGoey and stars Jake Wynne-Wilson, Renso Amariz, Allen Frederic, Ramona Tyler, Christine Lekas, Mustafa Harris, Dino Dos Santos and Rane Jameson. More information about Shane McGoey and People can be found here:
  • Shane McGoey on IMDB