Program 23: The Strange Ones
Directed by Lauren Wolkstein & Christopher Radcliff
There’s something strange about brothers Nick and Jeremiah as they wind their way down rural highways on what they claim is a perfectly normal camping trip. The age difference between the two is significant, yet they’re affectionate and comfortable in each others’ company. Twenty-something Nick strikes a paternal tone with his preteen brother, protective of him and not shy to help Jeremiah work through the issues weighing on his young mind. But uneasy interactions with strangers and nervous shifting when they cross paths with police betray to the audience that there is something very unusual about these brothers and their “camping trip.”
A sense of mystery hovers over the film like a dense fog, blanketing everything from the brothers themselves to the chain of events that led the duo to hit the road. Each time an answer is revealed, a new question arises, keeping the audience intrigued from start to finish. Flashbacks and nightmares hint at a traumatic start to the adventure, and a discarded cellphone tells us that they’re trying to fall off the grid. When car trouble forces them to interact with a friendly stranger, we start to see some oddities in the relationship between the two. So what exactly is their relationship and why are they on the run?
Co-stars Alex Pettyfer and James Freedson-Jackson both turn in tremendous performances as the troubled brothers on the run. Relative newcomer Freedson-Jackson does a particularly outstanding job portraying conflicted teenager Jeremiah with remarkable vulnerability. Meanwhile Pettyfer of Magic Mike fame, injects considerable nuance into his role as older brother Nick. The Strange Ones is the perfect slow-burn psychological mystery, guaranteed to leave you thinking and talking for hours afterward.
— Stephen K Weisenreder
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
- PRIX DU JURY, Best American Independent Film – Champs-Élysées Film Festival
- GRAND JURY AWARD, Best Feature Nominee – SXSW Film Festival
- JURY AWARD, Best Film Nominee – Sarasota Film Festival
- JURY AWARD, Best Feature Nominee – Maryland International Film Festival
- GRAND JURY AWARD, Best Feature Nominee – Oak Cliff Film Festival (Dallas)
- SPECIAL JURY AWARD, Breakthrough Performance in a Feature: James Freedson-Jackson – SXSW Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Montclair Film Festival (New Jersey)