Ever wonder what your colleagues do after hours? Some head to the pub; others dedicate free moments to their creative drives. Fledging filmmaker Justin Rigby wrote, storyboarded, and directed his first feature film Either | Or which premiered Thursday night (11.10.11) at Cinema Village in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.
Fans and intrigued participants peopled the sidewalk anticipating the debut. Tickets glossed in a silver sheen had the black font words “Get Lucky” in Rigby’s customized lettering. Within the crowd, actors August Urbish, Travis York, John Greiner, Bonnie (Ji-Yeon) Choi, and Aaron Rigby joined the ranks to watch this film for the first time.
Rigby’s sensibility for form, balance, and industrial artistry cemented the plot’s pace in splendor. His establishing shots had a rhythm that demonstrated purpose and recognition to how instrumental this juxtaposition of architectural accomplishment clashes with the root of most profiteering motives. His short films Not That It Matters and The Wilderness highlight his perceptive lens. The protagonist unnamed, everyman played by August Urbish faces economic woes not unfamiliar to aspiring New Yorkers. Exorbitant rents and utility monopolies savagely impoverish the working class which often makes the appeal of unemployment claims more sensible than toiling full-time hours to barely get by. While reading Confessions by St. Augustine sans music accompaniment on the pier, Mr. Everyman is approached by a suited man calling himself Lucky. This sunglassed figure unabashedly insists upon distracting this character with a tale about Lucky’s altruism and production company ominously known as Adversary Pictures. Even though he has not been living in NYC long, the nameless lead’s skepticism distances any real initial interest in this salesman’s shtick.
As days progress, audiences connect with August’s portrayal of annoyances with creditors and literally attempting to squeeze every tidbit from the toothpaste tube. Peanut butter as the sole protein staple rings true. Habits from college years bleed into the behaviors of the struggling newbies. In his strapped existence where vacation days are not employed for exotic adventures, but for hours to negotiate finances proves the sense of helplessness he cannot avoid. Briefly, he looks up www.getlucky.com to analyze the validity of this man’s contestant offer. The challenges appear simplistic, and winners are normal individuals. At a timed breaking point, he dials the number swiftly hanging up only to have the man call back. The stage is set.
Briskly, he signs Lucky’s paperwork blindly (I cringe whenever I witness this in films and want to ask did their parents never utter the words, “Never sign anything before you have read it.” There is a catch, dear Watson.) and inquires to what his tasks shall be.
From this scene, Rigby has his protagonist move throughout the city being subtlety tested and tempted. Familiar faces emerge acting as a foreboding harbinger of what awaits upon the game’s end. Lucky’s assistant hints at an aimlessness and hollowness in the requirements necessary to work with such a man. This assistant eggs the lead onto potentially working for Lucky postproduction. An unease festers. Why is this man intensely keen on having this stranger on the team? The concluding portions are omitted for the pleasure of viewers, but Rigby ‘s dutiful adherence to his own principles rings true in this film.
During the Q&A, Rigby spoke about his admiration of The Warriors (1979) which played out during one day and his emulation of that timeline for his own film. An audience member drew parallels to the Occupy Wall Street Protests to Rigby’s motifs; however, that comparison simplifies his intention. Humans grapple with the timeless question about how their mortal time is priced and at what level can values be comprised. One can claim linkage between integrity and one’s soul. Often, people use money to satiate a hunger without self-actualizing the personal costs to acquire this tangible value. Rigby centers his film on this very notion.