Written by Christopher Romano, who also stars as the film’s protagonist Carl Reed, and directed by Viraj Nayar (Dice) A Way of Life is morality tale of sorts and also a cautionary one. It is a story of a young man struggling to do what is right by his daughter. Unfortunately his criminal record and having to live with a grandmother who has no sympathy for his predicament makes Carl’s life beyond difficult.
Carl faces eviction from his grandmother’s house and possibly losing his child as he searches to find another job that will allow him to pay rent and keep going on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, no one wants to hire an ex convict and he only has a week to find enough money to pay his and his daughter’s way.
Reed visits his brother John who is still in the life and is offered a spot in the next robbery. John and his wastrel friend Mark are to carry out the job and Carl is to be the get away driver. After initially turning the two down, a fight with his Grandmother leads him to accept.
The consequences of Carl’s decision are horrific.
A Way of Life is a look at the frustration of having a record, a family to look after and the problems of re-integrating into society. Even more vexing than these issues is the reality of a young man making poor life choices early on who is still paying the penalty.
In a society not prepared to offer an ex-con another chance the young man feels pressured to return to what he desperately wants to stay away from. Carl is, for all intents and purposes the “everyman” who has gotten into trouble and now has difficulty keeping his nose clean.
The film looks crisp and DP Zachary Van Heel brings a wealth of experience to the job and it shows. Editor Justin Santoro puts the film together well and the cast all bring something to the party here. A Way of Life is a grim look at the aftermath of having served a sentence.
A cracking little film, A Way of Life is festival bound having been accepted to two festivals this year. Diamond In the Rough Cut Film Festival in Bristol, Pennsylvania will air the film April 8th. While the second screening will be at the 25th annual Arizona International Film Festival in Tucson AZ between April 14 and May 1, this year.
This is a cracking first effort and worth a look. Head on down to either festival, if you can, and watch this film. Until the festival’s start, have a look at the trailer below and see what you can expect from the film.