Writer-director Ryan Frost was a freshman in college on Sept. 11, 2001 (full disclosure, so was this critic). It’s a unique situation — away from home for the first time, living with a group of people you’ve just met and trying to process the surreal, history-altering terrorist attacks on the U.S. Frost has attempted to capture that potent period in the one room-set “September Morning.”
The morning in question is the wee hours of Sept. 12, when five freshmen gather in the dorm room of Eric (Troy Doherty) and Dish (Patrick Cage II) for beer, pizza and one of those endless, rambling talks that are ubiquitous in the early days of college. The students all seem a bit nonchalant about the events of the day, more excited to talk about sexual experiences and regale their pals with their best childhood tales.
The existential threat posed by the terrorist attacks does steer the conversation toward philosophical issues, but “September Morning” is far more concerned with detailing the college experience, with 9/11 as a backdrop. There are gestures toward collective political or social consciousness — ROTC member Dish’s jingoistic anger and an encounter with a World War II vet pizza delivery man — but they feel forced. Frost memorializes his experience of this day, but it’s just not enough to make a significant comment about the event.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Playing: Vintage Los Feliz 3