Radio Cape is Indeed a Labor of Love

Film Receives 3 stars from!

June 23, 2008

Frank's film tip: Independent filmmaker Andrew Silver's ode to love and landscape is all over the place in the resonance of his scenic and sensual ecological romancer RADIO CAPE COD.

Director/producer Andrew Silver's Radio Cape Cod is indeed a labor of love. Saturated with a breathtaking elegance that radiates this low-key romancer, Silver definitely serves up a quaint love story set within the cosmetic confines of New England's blissful boundaries. Silver, whose usage of his academic background in natural ecology is key to the film's major symbolic effectiveness, accentuates the conception of the ocean as a cleansing experience for his character studies of undefined love. Enriching, methodical and visually arresting, Radio Cape Cod is an unconventional narrative in that it correlates its amorous themes with the nuances of nature and scientific curiosities.

Emphatically, screenwriter/co-star Marta Rainer oversees a disciplined and involving script that is drenched in genuine sentimentality and intelligence. Silver's direction is steady in its contemplative mode and the performances are resourcefully quiet and refreshingly dignified. Michael Spindler's eye-popping cinematography is gracefully exquisite thus enhancing the Cape as an intrinsic lyrical landscape to the emotional heft at large. Interestingly, the film's soothing soundtrack compliments the sophisticated moodiness of the love-starved characterizations. Silver juggles his protagonists amiably and skillfully within the context of his meditative exposition. There are some questionable moments when the featured players are unintentionally overshadowed by the radiant region they're assimilating in with noted affinity. Still, Radio Cape Cod has an infectious charm for its embracing of love and life set against the undeniable beauty of Woods Hole, Massachusetts—the environmental center of the Cape's naturalistic allure.

The premise involves the personalized love stories amongst a group of scientists/oceanographers and the feelings they share while professionally basking in the communal radiance of the Cape's tranquil atmosphere. Handsome MIT graduate Sunday Umanankwe (Olatunde Fagbenle) and his scientific team are researching the hypnotic waters of the community. While conducting his studies he is asked to appear on a local radio program to be interviewed by an attractive British talk show host named Jill Waters (Tamzin Outhwaite). As the on-air interview commences there is an unspoken ignited spark that exists between the tandem behind the microphone. Soon, Sunday and Jill are engaging in long walks on the beach and having intimately intense conversations. There is a psychological hitch that persists within Jill's psyche; she cannot seem to get over the loss of her husband. The guilt and uncertainty for falling in love with Sunday is a pressurizing revelation.

In the meantime, Jill is concerned about her teenaged daughter Anna (Tamzin Merchant) whose affection for her indifferent house visitor Virgil Stone (Julian Silver) has her tied up in confusing knots. Jill's friend Chip (Helen McCreery) is on board as another houseguest for her to convey the frustration about her puppy love for the dashing dark-haired, lanky Virgil. It is a daunting task for Jill to deal with her own indecisiveness regarding the resilient Sunday. After all, she has to deal with her offspring's lingering growing pains, too.

Sunday's superior, Alice Thompkins (Debra Wise), is involved in a sensual dalliance with the divorced Clay (Andrew Silver), a well-spoken storeowner whose penchant for "slow food" is indeed a healthy-minded prescription for his internal happiness. As for the other scientist who's part of this particular project, Jake Ford (Justin Adams) is fretting over his upcoming nuptials with Monica Thompkins (Ana Kaczmarek) as he reluctantly waves goodbye to his "freedom". Jake is stuck picking up the slack on their oceanography assignment because Sunday has chosen to have "a life" outside his working hours in his efforts to pursue the tormented but tenderized Jill.

Conveniently, Silver delivers us the soft-spoken turmoil of this inner circle as he allows the Cape's serenity of the surroundings to heal the doubts, decisions and disillusionment. The resolution of these love-seeking participants, thankfully, is realized and restored with convincing resonance. Radio Cape Cod never backs away from its penchant for poetic platitudes. The articulate dialogue, deliciously underplayed acting and highlighted harmony of this independent film screams volumes of notable filmmaking at its ambitious realm.

The film's pacing staggers a bit and at times one might feel cheated by the spotlighted Sunday-Jill union courtesy of the incidental background romances pertaining to the supporting cast. Nevertheless, the winning formula for Radio Cape Cod is its commitment to showcasing love's grand entrance through the forethought of conflicted real people. More importantly, through the wonderment of a liquid-induced planet willing to play an ecological Cupid to our lovelorn tendencies.

Frank rates this film: *** stars (out of 4 stars)

by Frank Ochieng,