Indy Film Fest: West of Her
For more information and showtimes, click here.
Writer-director Ethan Warren’s “West of Her” is a wonderful film that unfolds like a poem spoken in a whisper — it’s beautiful, it’s enchanting and it’s full of mystery.
Dan (Ryan Caraway) and Jane (Kelsey Siepser) are a couple. Well, not actually a “couple,“ but partners in crime.
Their crime just happens to be distributing tiles that include inspirational quotes and riddles across the United States. They’re backed by an anonymous group whose only instructions are not to place tiles in cities that have already been hit and not to be seen while placing them.
The chemistry between the two begins to ignite, and their relationship turns from one of strictly business to a budding romance. As they traverse across the American West in search of locations for their tiles, their pasts begin to be slowly be revealed and show the reasons why they believe in the hope of the tiles.
But as they grow closer, Dan is plagued by feelings of being nothing in the world and a growing concern that Jane knows more about the tiles’ purpose than she’s revealing. They both have a past they can’t escape and an uncertain future that won’t come into focus, and in the end it’s too much for Jane.
Dan and Jane are at a crossroads where Dan feels he must continue to find the purpose behind it all and, in turn, his life, and Jane comes to the realization she can’t continue down that path anymore. This leaves Dan with a decision: Does he carry on with the tiles or does he carry on with his life?
The film’s focus is Dan, but it’s Siepser’s Jane that steals the show. With her intelligence and beauty it’s no wonder why Dan and just about anyone who watches “West of Her” falls in love with her. Siepser has that “it” factor that makes it hard to take your eyes off her.
The film also suffers after her departure in the final act. Even as we watch as Dan’s life change for the better, we’re just waiting and hoping for Jane to come back into the picture.
Warren’s film is amazingly beautiful — both in subject and execution. The American West is almost a character in and of itself. From North Dakota to the Grand Canyon, the backgrounds are breathtaking and Warren does a wonderful job of complimenting the characters’ emotions with the stunning imagery.
The tiles of the film are based on the Toynbee Tiles that began appearing across the United States and South American in the 1980s and 90s. No one knows their exact origin or what their message means, and their mystery continues to this day.
“West of Her” is a beautiful debut film by Warren that is both mysterious and enchanting. The film is anchored by a wonderful performance from Siepser, who’s a talent that deserves to be noticed.