Standards of Living movie review

Standards of Living is a 2013 film written and directed by Aaron Mento. The entire film was shot on an iPad2 which is pretty incredible considering the final output. As a personal note, I couldn’t take a clear video with my iPad if my life somehow depended on it, so to see an ambitious little film like Standards of Living use it to film their entire movie is neat.

The story is about a failed comedian named Peter. He gets a phone call one morning from Mr.Randall and his assistant Stu. They offer him $100 to perform at a “private” function on the condition that he tell absolutely nobody where he is going.

Peter arrives at the house for the event and after an awkward exchange with Stu he is invited into the house. From this point on the story is properly set in motion and we are taken on a unique and trippy ride full of clever twists.

I have to say that the actor who played Stu sort of bothered me. Given that the film was made on a micro-budget I know I shouldn’t have been expecting Oscar worthy performances, but I found this one to be slightly immersion breaking.

I don’t want to slam the acting too much but I will say that it is one of the weaker aspects of Standards of Living.

The absolute strength of this movie is the script. Aaron Mento does a superb job of ensuring that dialogue never stagnates and characters genuinely react to each other. There were times when a character made some questionable decisions but it always felt authentic to the way that they had been written. Aaron also succeeded in creating a wonderfully weird and unique world on an absolute micro-budget. One of the sets is duplicated for plot reasons but the scripting ensures that it feels completely different. I would like to see what Aaron Mento is able to do with a real budget and some slightly better actors.

From a technical side there isn’t really anything that stands out about the directing but I found that to be another strength. The iPad 2 was used to create simple and seamless shots that have a nice natural flow to them. Nothing overly technical or artsy, but a lot of nice fluid simplicity.

Despite a few flaws, Standards of Living managed to keep me watching until the very end and these days that is a triumph. I couldn’t tell you how many movies I’ve turned off not even halfway through (or wished that I never started watching) lately.

Pros:

Excellent scripting.

Nice simple shots allow story to tell itself.

Music.

Very unique and original concept.

 

Cons:

Sometimes the acting is immersion breaking.

 

Overall, I recommend watching this film. I watched it after watching Dracula 3D and this was aeons better. Standards of Living is something that Argento wishes he made.

If I could give a small, witty blurb about this movie it would be this.

“Director Aaron Mento urinates more talent in a day than Argento has shown since Suspiria”.

 

You can watch Standards of Living for free at this link http://standardsoflivingmovie.com/

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