The story is fairly standard--a small-town man having a meltdown after some personal tragedies--but Jim Cummings (writer, director, editor, leading man) doesn't take a standard approach. Like Custody, it has some pretty big shifts in narrative and tone. Whereas those shifts in Custody were pretty smooth, these shifts feel abrupt and out-of-nowhere at times which, to be fair, is something that Cummings intends, and I think that these abrupt shifts fit with the story and the character at its center. This is a story about someone who is only holding things together from moment to moment, and when it falls apart--as it does several times--it's as uncomfortable as hell to watch. I don't really know exactly how I feel about this--it's a movie that almost defies the binaries of "good" and "bad" or "excellent" or "flawed" that we try to put on films. Even within the confines of a story you've seen variations on in the past, this is still very much its own thing made by someone who is playing by his own rules. Like I said, I'm not sure how I feel about this exactly, although I am definitely very interested to see what Cummings does next.
So, this movie is apparently somewhat famous in indie circles. It began as a one-shot monologue short film that swept the film festivals and was expanded from there. When offered a lukewarm distribution deal, the filmmaker said screw it and opted for self-distribution and it made a profit.
Anyway, I think people are going to fall one way or another on this movie based on their tolerance for Jim Cummings. The whole film tonally pivots around his character, as he deals with the death of his mother, divorcing his wife, possibly losing custody of his child, all amidst a high-stress job. The script is formula but has a fresh feel due to his presence in every scene. Officer Jim's behavior can be boiled down to always on the edge of a breakdown, saying things he doesn't mean, but unfailingly earnest and attempting politeness. He's almost a sitcom character but there's something moving about his presence in this movie about a guy who is just trying to do good but can't. His plight never quite feels bigger than himself, never feels quite about the rest of the world as miniature... but it comes close. I was surprised how taken I was by it. It should be ridiculous but never is and I ended up finding it to be a small triumph and Jim Cummings is excellent. I would have supported him as a Best Actor contender in 2018.