Adam Nelson’s rendition of a family in crisis comes to us as the feature length film, Little Pieces. Featuring a local-ish cast in an undeniably local setting, this low budget piece serves up a close to home story of a fragmented journey for reconciliation. While the film is understandably rough around the edges, this jigsaw puzzle of a story sets the bar in clever storytelling.
Enter Michael, the eldest of two brothers, in a state of wild panic as he sprints home to burn the clothes he was wearing. As quickly as we get the action the movie then wanders off, giving us the chance to meet younger brother Eric instead, as well as the vodka-chugging father and a mother who is pretty much out of the picture. From there it doesn’t take long to get the rest of the picture, as the brothers try to make ends meet, struggling through their upbringing, while the audiences are left wondering why Michael fancied a bit of arson from the very beginning.
Having said that, one testament to Little Pieces is how it tries very hard to give very little away, urging the need to piece (yes I said it) it all together. Feeling small-scale and knitty-gritty, some establishing scenes almost feel borrowed from the documentary genre, which adds to the effect of the story feeling like it’s right on your doorstep. The film focuses less on the razzle-dazzle and more on the characters which helps push the tight and tense plot further, freeing the story to do most of the talking.
The movie, being a first for a lot of the cast and crew, has the potential to compete with some of the big leagues. As a whole, the casting was solid, but the timing and execution of some parts of the dialogue could’ve used fine-tuning where pauses felt too long, or the script felt overacted. Generally speaking, the cast and film kept it together.
With some tidying up, this already sound attempt at film-making with a shallow pocket could easily grab itself a slot at the box office and would feel right at home in the little cinemas and art houses. Though Little Pieces was far from perfect, the viewing experience was still enjoyable and as a paying customer, I wouldn’t be placing complaints anytime soon. If credit could be given out for anything, it’s that it achieved a massive amount with very little. If Nelson and his entourage carry on that way in the future, this film definitely has the potential to be the first of many more debuts to come.
You can buy Little Pieces here.