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The Heirloom (2024)

-Written by Kyle Bain.


2024 RAINDANCE FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW!


After rescuing a traumatized dog, a struggling filmmaker finally finds the inspiration that he’s been looking for. These new dog parents, Allie (Grace Glowicki) and Eric (Ben Petrie), have found new meaning–and it’s time to get to work. Heirloom follows the eccentric couple as they attempt to master being dog parents, while trying to create a masterful piece of art. 


I’ll be honest–I don’t know what the point of Heirloom is; I can’t, for the life of me, understand why the film was made. As it played out in unique (and strange) fashion, I questioned, over and over again, whether or not I was meant to learn something, if I was meant to feel something, if I was even meant to enjoy the film. There is no purpose, no deeper meaning (at least not that I could figure out), and by the end of the film I was simply happy that it was over. To be clear, it’s possible that there is a hidden meaning, that there was something lurking beneath the surface–but with this style of filmmaking, it became nearly impossible to understand anything about the film–particularly anything of substance. 


Heirloom is cringey, and it’s meant to be–but Writer-Director Petrie takes it too far, filling every crevice of his film with inexcusable cringe, making it nearly impossible to understand what’s going on. To prove a point, to enlighten viewers, to do anything at all with the corny nature of a film makes it warranted–it serves a purpose and it adds to the depth of the film as a result. Heirloom never finds that, and whatever relevance the film may have attempted to find falls flat, buried beneath the rocky surface of ineffective comedy and intentionally subpar acting. 


It seems that Petrie is something of an auteur, someone looking to create their own path and develop their film in a way completely unique to them. It’s clear that he has a passion, it’s clear that he understands things like lighting and sound–but he hinders his own film by thinking too far outside the box. The cinematography, the lighting, the score, and nearly every technical aspect of Heirloom is brilliant–but each of those things are, again, overshadowed by the ineptitude of the comedy, of the seemingly pointless narrative. 


In a film that lacks substance, something else needs to stand out. Surely the technical aspects of Heirloom are notable, but the fact of the matter is that they drown in the wake of the rest of the film’s nonsense. It’s clear that Petrie has a knack for filmmaking, at least in regard to those technical aspects–but otherwise he struggles to develop something interesting. As previously mentioned, I couldn’t wait for Heirloom to end, and when it did eventually end I already found myself forgetting that it existed in the first place. I’m sure that Petrie can create something better, something more genuine–but Heirloom is certainly not it. 


Written & Directed by Ben Petrie. 


Starring Grace Glowicki, Ben Petrie, Matt Johnson, Andrew Chown, Lead Doz, etc. 


5/10 = WORTH WATCHING, BUT YOU’VE BEEN WARNED


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