There is moment in “45 RPM” where I forgot about the lead of my pencil pressed against the small sheet of paper clutched in my free hand. Charlie (Liza Burns) discovers more than she’d ever hope to find in a beautiful sequence driven by genius cinematography, great music, and absolutely phenomenal acting.
Let me back up for a moment. “45 RPM” screened as a “Made in Arkansas” feature at the 2013 Little Rock Film Festival. The film was written and directed by Arkansas native Julie Jackson.
From the film’s website:
“The film follows Charlie, a struggling city artist who seeks a connection between her artwork and her estranged father’s music. She teams up with Louie, an obsessive record collector from Memphis, and begins an exhaustive search for a rare 45 recording from the 1960s Arkansas garage rock scene that takes them both on a journey across the seldom-explored landscape of the new Old South.
What makes this film special is the way every single element of the film (from the saucy one-liners to the beautifully canvassed Southern scenery the bulk of the film plays out in) works seamlessly together in order to deliver quite a wonderful experience. My favorite element was the animated cut scenes that assisted in showing the passage of time and keeping the flow of the film driving forward. It was a clever move and not only encompassed the personality of our protagonist, but it was rather nice to look at as well.
Charlie (Burns) and Louie (Jason Thompson) make a perfect onscreen team. Louie comes on a bit strong, but it’s exactly what this kind of journey needs. His personality melds perfectly with Charlie’s slightly reserved demeanor. It definitely caused quite a few “laugh out loud” scenes within the film.
The writing and acting worked together to deliver extremely vivid characters that were real, raw, damaged, and layered. Anyone can see some (or all) of themselves in any of the characters. There was even a nice bit of personality in characters who only appear in one scene. None of the characters seemed like pawns to drive the film forward, even if that was the purpose. Each person had his or her own role in the grand scheme.
“45 RPM” is definitely a special film. It captures you from the opening credits and thrusts you into this journey that serves to define one young woman in search of answers. If you ever get the chance to catch this film, you’ll find that the journey may help you discover something about yourself as well.
Little Rock Movie Examiner’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars