A 2010 "mumblecore" mystery film by Aaron Katz. Made on a shoestring budget, it was a critical darling at the South by Southwest film festival.
Doug is a forensic school dropout who returns to his hometown of Portland, Oregon. There he lives a fairly aimless existence, living with his sister, hanging out with his co-worker, and generally doing...nothing.
That is until his ex-girlfriend mysteriously vanishes from the hotel room she was staying in, leaving few clues to her whereabouts.
Finally putting his detective skills to use, Doug takes a leaf from his idol's book and investigates.
Tropes present in this work:
- Amateur Sleuth: Doug, though it is established that he was studying Forensic Science in Chicago so he's not a complete amateur.
- Brother-Sister Team: A low key version. Gail doesn't hesitate in aiding Doug and their relationship proves to be the film's center.
- Chekhov's Gun: Doug's switchblade plays a key role in the film's climax.Doug: I told you my knife would be useful.
- Eureka Moment: The solution to the number code found in the hotel room comes to Doug as he miserably tries to hit homers at a batting cage.
- Film Noir: The film is a unique blend of neo-noir and mumblecore.
- Gilligan Cut: Doug refuses to interrupt his sister's date despite the insistence of Carlos. Guess what the scene cuts to?
- No Ending: Once the brief spurt of action dies down, the film just...stops.
- Random Events Plot: At first, it seems this is where the film is headed...and then the mystery rears its head half an hour in.
- Tragic Dropout: A possible subversion. Though it does seem that Doug is wasting his potential, it's never clear why he stops his education and he expresses very little interest in discussing it.
- Trekkie: They may not look it, but both Rachel and Carlos turn out to be huge Star Trek nerds.
- The Un-Reveal: While Doug does eventually locate Rachel, the film leaves several other questions up in the air. Who was Jim Warden? Why did he steal the briefcase? What was the money originally for? Where did Rachel disappear to? Why was she asked to transport money from Chicago to Portland?
- The Unsolved Mystery: In a way. As mentioned above, Rachel is found but much of the details of the case are never resolved.