- Narrative Feature / Festival Award Winner / USA
- Director: Sam Kretchmar
- Writers: Sam Kretchmar, Michael Covino
This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.
In Keep in Touch, Colin (Ryan Patrick Bachand) tries to reconnect with a long-lost childhood crush. When he finds out she died in a car accident many years ago, he becomes infatuated with her younger sister, an aspiring musician who bears a striking resemblance to the girl he used to love.
What struck me most about Keep in Touch was the way it presented its first act. Colin stalks Jessie (Gabbi McPhee) to the point where the film could easily have been a thriller. Yet, Bachand’s performance taps into a sorrow within the character that the viewer can’t help but feel connected to him. Colin is a complex character clinging to nostalgia. He’s at a point in his life where he’s lost and trying to rebuild after circumstances led to him losing most everything. We don’t sympathize with Colin’s creepy behavior so much as we understand the mindset that leads to it.
The movie’s flirtation with the thriller genre dissipates in the second act after Colin and Jessie meet-cute. The scene unfurls in a fairly messed up way, considering the way Colin orchestrated their chance encounter. As the pair get to know each other, the inner struggle facing Colin grows into an anguish of pining for his dead love and using Jessie to fill a void to no real avail. It’s this strong characterization brought to life by Bachand that makes Keep in Touch leave such a lasting impression.
Gabbi McPhee is incredibly charming as Jessie. There’s a pivotal moment in the second half of the film that’s played spectacularly well by her. McPhee finds a wonderful balance between rage and confusion in her approach to this sequence and the result is a dramatic moment played with subtlety that ushers in the film’s third act.
Keep in Touch is rich with characterization and tells an engaging story. The movie is about Colin’s struggle to find peace after a life crisis and how him receding into nostalgia clouds his judgement. It’s bound to leave you satisfied and stay with you for a while after seeing it.