Runaway Tim McCann

RunawayTim McCann
Screening at TIFF and Tribeca back in 2005, with mostly positive, if limited, buzz, Runaway essentially disappeared for four years, seemingly doomed to get lost in the distribution shuffle. But, thankfully, it has found its way onto DVD before the decade's end. It's a good example of an effective and well-made movie that suffers from marketing and demographic dilemmas, appealing mainly to a younger, educated male audience keen on micro-budgeted, psychological character pieces. Things start out simple enough, with Michael Adler (Aaron Stanford), a stolid, seemingly damaged young man working at a gas station, and living in a motel room with his eight-year-old brother, having run away from his abusive parents (played by Melissa Leo and Michael Gaston). Flashbacks and intercuts suggest severe trauma, while Michael's insistence on hiding his brother from the world foreshadows legal issues. Smartly, the film foregoes this storyline for the majority of its runtime, focusing instead on the runaway's budding relationship with a spunky, smart-mouthed colleague named Carly (Robin Tunney). Their relationship is both limited and enlivened by his mysterious past, which Carly playfully asks about, getting nowhere. While the inevitable twists don't necessarily come as a surprise, a quiet insistence on character and intense performances from both Tunney and Stanford keep things compelling, making the overall story that much more gut wrenching. Because the film is independent in every capacity, the "behind the scenes" supplement and audio commentary track with McCann, Tunney and Stanford are far more candid and entertaining than studio entries filtered through the PR machine. Jokes are made about cutting corners and actors pitching in and moving props, while interviews shed light on the various interpretations of the material. Robin Tunney makes cracks about the dangers of her doing nudity, since her breasts are cursed (Supernova and End of Days were not well received, to say the least) and Aaron Stanford points out some of the differences between studio shoots and hands-on indie fare. This is one of those hidden gems that folks should seek out. (E1)