Solitude

Two siblings and a would-be lover scratch and claw at the air and each other in this chamber piece that spirals down from the hot, dry vastness of the Arizona desert to the claustrophobic fetor of a Phoenix apartment. Soledad (Ronne Orenna) and Hilary (Mary Thornton) are preparing to leave for Flagstaff, where Hilary has arranged to show Soledad's paintings...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Two siblings and a would-be lover scratch and claw at the air and each other in this chamber piece that spirals down from the hot, dry vastness of the Arizona desert to the claustrophobic fetor of a Phoenix apartment. Soledad (Ronne Orenna) and Hilary (Mary Thornton) are preparing to leave for Flagstaff, where Hilary has arranged to show Soledad's paintings to a gallery owner, when Soledad's truck inexplicably dies. Undaunted, Hilary suggests they hitchhike into Phoenix, where she knows someone from whom they can borrow a car. "Someone" turns out to be her seriously high-strung younger brother, Louis (Patrick Belton), who's about to slice his wrists when Hilary and Soledad arrive. Soledad, who's patiently trying to cultivate her friendship with Hilary into full-blown romance, is more than a little surprised to learn that Hilary lives with Louis — and that's the least of the revelations in store. Hilary assures her they'll stay just until Louis calms down and then be on their way, but Louis withholds the car keys and the afternoon stretches into evening, when the psychodrama gets started in earnest. Accusations fly, thinly veiled hints are dropped, childhood traumas acted out — their mother's suicide and alcoholic father's oppressive emotional manipulation chief among them — emotional scabs picked off and freshly bleeding wounds worried. Soledad's hopes of a fresh personal and professional start fade as she realizes how unnaturally close and ferociously mutually self-destructive Hilary and Louis really are. Shot on digital video by husband-and-wife producers, writers and directors Pi Ware (a Tempe, Ariz., native) and Susan Kraker, the film is often murky and more than a little stagy. The explosive family secrets are, in the end, nasty little sizzlers rather than spectacular, bring-the-house-down blasts, but Orenna, Thornton and Belton deliver strong, surprisingly subtle performances that make the modest fireworks genuinely engaging.

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Two siblings and a would-be lover scratch and claw at the air and each other in this chamber piece that spirals down from the hot, dry vastness of the Arizona desert to the claustrophobic fetor of a Phoenix apartment. Soledad (Ronne Orenna) and Hilary (Mar… (more)

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