Woodstock or Bust is an admirable effort, but with a little more of a budget, a few tweaks here and there, and a better sound quality, the film could be yet another winning coming of age story. However, due to the consistent faults that appear throughout the short 90 minute runtime, you wind up desperately wanting more Woodstock and much less bust.
Making her feature film debut, Leslie Bloom gives a modest direction to the film with much to be desired. It's at times difficult to decipher if the budget was the issue with a particular scene or the direction itself. There are moments that show off some true finesse and talent behind the camera - notably the scenery around the characters, as you can tell that Bloom found the perfect way to film the shots in order to get the best use of her 'real' surroundings. It's truly refreshing to see no prominent use of a green screen in a round trip film. Put simply, more time and money needed to be invested into making this film worthwhile of the excellent screenplay it had revolving around it.
The writing is masterful. Leslie Bloom wrote the film as well, and it is safe to say that her writing is far superior to her directing abilities. This is a tight script, a clever script, and one that with someone more experienced behind the camera would make for a fascinating and complicated coming of age story set in the late 60s. It takes on the reality of the decade and doesn't focus purely on the "peace,” but instead directing our attention to the effects of the Vietnam War occurring. It's just a shame that everything around it doesn't match its quality.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Willow Shields (The Hunger Games) and Meg DeLacy (The Fosters) have spectacular chemistry on screen with powerful vocals and charming dialogue between the two. Unfortunately the acting surrounding the duo never quite reaches the heights of the leading talent, with a mixture of abysmal acting, mediocre acting, and moderate acting stockpiling up against the wonderful energy Shields & DeLacy give off. Another error in the film's interior: miscalculated casting decisions. A shame for a script this hypnotic.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The original songs were creative and reminiscent of how the era songs would have sounded, however the way it was executed eliminated any flair that the production was attempting to create. The leads have great vocal chops, however at times the music would drift away and focus on other things, making the lyrical music seem like it was playing the role of score instead of actually being played during filming. The sound mixing for the film unfortunately fails the film itself while eliminating some wonderful dialogue between characters with awkward silences, volumes fluxulating when they shouldn't, and a poor mix of vocals with the poorly represented score.
Visually, Woodstock or Bust is a mixed bag. With vibrant, well thought out scenes taking center frame when they show up, a vast majority of the film doesn't feel as crisp or well put together as the scenes that beautifully depict the imagery around the leads.
Expectations were moderately high for this film as the trailer truly did impress and get myself interested in the experience I was about to have. Sadly though, the experience was rather lackluster, with much of it ruined by poor sound mixing and misguided direction. The writing stands out prominently against the rest; it's just a shame that the script here couldn't get the treatment it deserved.