Evan is young college going student, who spent his childhood and youth moving between an endless list of foster homes. He is in a stable relationship with his boyfriend Chris who loves and supports him but at the same time can be a bit controlling and trying to make Evan into something that he is not. One afternoon Evan finds an old 8mm film camera in a garage sale. The old owner asks him to return back in a week to collect the editing equipment. When he returns a week later, he finds that the old man passed away and now it is his son Peter who lives there. To honour his father, Peter gives him the editing equipment along with the old family films that his father had shot. Evan goes through tons of childhood memories of Peter and starts to form a bond with Peter, getting to know him as he is today versus what he was as a child in those films and he struts living vicariously through Peter and his memories. Evan even leaves Chris to be with Peter because he thinks Peter can bring I’m that stability and happiness that Chris never could. But does Evan really know what he wants?
The Surface is a quiet, contained film, with the sort of melancholic air that could easily have come across as extremely pretentious. Thankfully it doesn’t go that route. But then at the same time, it doesn’t really invest much time building a stronger character graph for Peter and Chris. Why is Evan unhappy with Chris besides him being controlling. What attracts Evan to Chris? Is Evan really maybe looking for a protective fatherly figure that he finds in Peter? Or is it Peter wanting a younger evan to relive the movies of young adulthood that he had lost because he really didn’t care much and having seen Evan’s short film, he realises how important they were. The film ends with a slight feeling that perhaps Evan will continue to float from one place to another, look for something that will always allude him. The acting and direction of the film is quite simple and indie like. Thankfully there are no annoying or over-the-top characters. As I mentioned before, the story idea is indeed quite novel and interesting about a young man discovering the concept of family, even if its not his own.
The film is not bad. It is decent, just the right duration and enjoyable but it’s not quite as profound or remarkable as I would have liked it for me to rate it much higher. (6/10)