Tony Pemberton's "Beyond the Ocean" shows a clever use of color and
black-and-white film stocks to create contrast between gritty New York
and surreal Russia, but falls short of character development.
The film follows the life of Pitsee (played by Darya Volga), a young
Russian woman who travels to New York to find her American lover and a
place for herself and her unborn child.
Her life is chronicled through a series of beautifully shot flashbacks of
her childhood life in Russia, intercut with her present life in New York.
Here she meets friends and strangers who ultimately lead her to question
her true reason for being in America.
The film struggles to answer its own questions through the pop philosophy
of Pitsee's DJ friend Dog Walker, played by Sage, whose clever acting and
trendy lifestyle yearns for more screen time. It is here that Pemberton's
picture leads our sympathy into the insightful words of a DJ, instead of
focusing on the struggle of a pregnant woman who flies halfway around the
world to find nothing but an ocean of unanswerable questions.
Despite its shortcomings, it still presents a slight but sensitive
portrait of a young woman lost in a turbulent world.
* "Beyond the Ocean" screens at 8 p.m. today at Edwards Island 7 Cinemas.