Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:00

It’s an Uphill Struggle to Enjoy a Visit to "Putty Hill"

weeklyvolcano.com weeklyvolcano.com
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

With an improvised, documentary feel, writer/director Matt Porterfield's Putty Hill presents the gathering of friends and relatives for the funeral of 24-year-old Cory. Never condescending to the poor, largely uneducated residents of the Putty Hill section of the Baltimore area, Porterfield becomes a fly on the wall, occasionally asking questions from off screen. It's alternately illuminating, say, and incredibly boring.

Though Cory's death from a heroin overdose is the occasion for the characters' musings and interaction, Cory himself appears only in a photo at his wake. Haltingly and often inarticulately commenting about Cory are, among others, his brother and his sister, a cousin and his grandmother, junior high school friends, and his cellmate in prison. But unlike Akira Kurosawa's brilliant Rashomon that provides profound insight into the subjective interpretation of events based on one's status in society, Putty Hill meanders aimlessly. Or if it is astute in its revelation of this disheartening environment, and it may well be, it presents its ennui through its own tedious accumulation of mind-numbing scenes.

Putty Hill opens and closes with shots of Cory's empty house, not just empty because he's deceased and gone but devoid of furniture and the kind of trappings that define a home. The first active scene is a paintball game. It and a visit to a skateboard park provide the most energetic moments in the film, of which there are few. Instead, emotional and physical torpor dominate. One of the few employed men is Spike, Cory's cellmate, a tattoo artist who explains matter-of-factly that he went to jail for second degree murder, having killed the man who raped his pregnant wife. Confrontations between Spike and his daughter who's returned for the funeral bare the sad, lack of anything approaching a constructive relationship between them.

Shot in twelve days with nonprofessional actors, Putty Hill aspires to a poignant reality of lower class lives. But its torturous pace and rambling conversations undermine its attempts to elicit empathy. All I could muster was a sigh and a wish that these folks could pull themselves together.

At Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 20th through Sunday, May 22nd. For information and the current schedule, you may call 314-968-7487 or you may go to the web at: www.Webster.edu/film series.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


The Driftaways

Mon July 28
The Driftaways are a seven man reggae band hailing from St. Louis. Their E.P. Don't Hide is full of high energy jams and groovey improves that gives them a good time vibe. Download their song "Don't Hide"…

Dad Jr: Get Down. Hard.

Sun June 29

KDHX Recommends

July
Thursday
31

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys KDHX presents Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys at The Stage, July 31 at 8pm. Tickets available online.   Born in Louisiana and raised in Missouri, Folk remembers watching his Dad pick the country blues on a...


August
Saturday
02

The Aching Hearts at Harvest Sessions 2014

The Aching Hearts at Harvest Sessions 2014 The Aching Hearts are the husband and wife duo of Ryan Spearman and Kelly Wells (host of Steam-Powered Radio on 88.1 KDHX), who recently released the CD "Just a Habit." Join them and KDHX for a morning of classic, old-time...


August
Wednesday
06

Discovery Series: Mandolin Orange

Discovery Series: Mandolin Orange KDHX presents Mandolin Orange as part of the Discovery Series on Wednesday August 6 at 7:30 p.m. The North Carolina-based duo combines bluegrass, rock and country, providing a modern take on age-old styles. Tickets available...


Online Users

7 users and 8361 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook