Okay, it’s official. If I were super-interested in working with Christians making indie films, I’d move to Tulsa. What is the deal with that town?
This year alone, I’ve reviewed three low-budget DIY flicks to come out of Tulsa. First there was Jesus Fish, Titus Jackson’s profane, acerbic look at the hypocrisy of the Christian subculture; then there was Brian Shoop’s squeaky-clean church-produced Blind Treasure, distributed by Cloud Ten; and now there’s Tracy Trost’s Find Me, a geo-caching thriller that’s easily the most accomplished film of the bunch. And aside from a co-starring appearance by Shoop in the latter, there appears to be almost zero crossover between these three production teams.
I’m serious: what is the deal with that town?
I was hooked by the premise Find Me just by visiting the film’s website. Geo-caching is a GPS-inspired pastime in which obscure clues and messages are left at specific geographical coordinates, and enthusiasts often tease each other with chains of clues that leave their friends traipsing from one location to another. Paul and his buddy Neil taunt each other in such a fashion, laying wagers as to whether Paul can solve Neil’s latest challenge. While on one of these hunts with friend Jess, Paul accidentally uncovers someone else’s cached note—and Paul and Jess find themselves enmeshed in a plot concerning a blackmailed politician.
Aside from a few achingly long dialog scenes, Trost’s story moves briskly along from plot point to plot point—and in a fashion that makes this possibly the most compelling suspense film I’ve seen in the last year or so. The setting and the performances kept me equally enthralled, as Jess and Paul dig themselves deeper and deeper into trouble. And honestly, Tyler Roberds and Fiawna Forte’ are so good as Paul and Jess that you won’t at all mind their periodic chattiness. I was so absorbed in the film that I completely forgot to take any notes whatsoever.
Doug Bower and Ahmad Dugas are also quite good as the Senator’s son and bodyguard, and Shoop is back in good form after having looked pretty run down in his own Treasure. Patrick McCormick, as Neil, is even reminiscent of a young Ryan O’Neal. What a treasure trove of young actors in the Tulsa area!
A great bonus of the film is its technical competency. Not only does Trost have almost complete mastery of cinematic technique—only once or twice getting his camera in an uncomfortably “wrong” spot—the film and audio editing are near flawless. Unlike Jesus Fish and Treasure Blind, which had some serious color balance issues, or Christian-made counterparts A Greater Yes or Come What May, which had clear audio problems which post-production couldn’t quite cure, Find Me joins Dog Days of Summer and the Sherwood Pictures films as Christian indies that truly stack up against their secular peers.
The religious backstory to the film is a domestic-terrorist plot against passage of a fictional “10 Commandments Bill,” so the film also plays well topically to its target audience. Its conclusion is even-handed as well, enough so that secular-minded viewers probably won’t mind the film’s incidental proselytization too much.
All in all, this is great filmmaking on a shoestring that makes every inch of lacing count. Track down the DVD online. It’s a lot of fun—and so is the film’s official site.
Find Me is unrated, but probably warrants a PG for some intense scenes of violence and thematic material. But you really have no worries at all about sitting down to watch this with your kids.
Courtesy of the film’s producers, Greg screened a promotional DVD of Find Me.