Great stories make us feel
What makes great stories so compelling is their ability to make us feel. In a world where many of our relationships are sterile and shallow, stories force us to fear, to hope, and to wonder. They free us to imagine and dream. Rose White is such a story.
Loosely based on Snow White and Rose Red by the Brothers Grimm, Rose White tells a modern story of two sisters striving for survival in poor circumstances. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll keep the description to that.
What I really like about the movie is how director Daniel Kuhlman utilizes music, violence, gore and camera work to enhance an already-great story. Nothing ever appears gratuitous. Every image moves the story forward. All the music attenuates emotional response. The short bits of violence and gore add power. In other words, Kuhl employs the tools of his trade in the context of the overall story. He is a director, but first he is a storyteller. With the recent trend towards 80s-style special effects and weak plots, Rose White’s creativity and subtlety delivers far-greater punch than many of Hollywood’s latest offerings.
Acting in low-budget films is usually suspect. And while Rose White offers a few sub-par performances — Unfortunately, Kuhlman’s directing prowess doesn’t carry over to his acting skills — leading characters Erin Breen and Deneen Melody shine on screen as polar opposite personalities. Breen, the tough, responsible sister comes across as believable. Melody’s role contains few speaking parts, but is crucial to the feel of the movie. Her ability to convey emotions like mania and fear through body-language alone lifts Rose White from good to great. Without her excellent performance, Breen’s effort would be wasted. Together, the duo delivers something greater than a $60,000 budget normally provides.
Rose White isn’t without faults. Sound quality is poor at times, and some of the actors just don’t bring any personality to their parts. But these problems are minor compared to the fantastic story and quality acting by Breen and Melody. I suspect some of the sound issues could be fixed with more post-processing.
I really enjoyed Rose White. Few feature-length movies carry the emotional impact of this thirty-minute short. If you’re looking for an evocative film that demands an emotional connection, Rose White is the movie for you.