Watching the film “Middle of Nowhere” is like watching a seamstress carefully unravel a spool of thread. The film unfolds into a beautiful woven tapestry of images crafted by Writer/Director Ava DuVernay.
DuVernay takes her time, allowing each scene to breathe. We sit with each character through their emotions and journey. DuVernay savors every moment. Middle of Nowhere is the director’s second feature film, which garnered her the Best Director Award (in the Drama category) at Sundance.
Although I did not see her debut film “I Will Follow” I wonder: is this the Director’s style? Quiet. Intentional. Poetry in motion.
In the film we meet “Ruby” (Emayatzy Corinealdi) a young woman who finds herself locked in the confinement of her silence as she deals with the reality that her husband (Omari Hardwick) is in prison for a number of years. Does she hold on? Does she break her vows?
On her day to day, she encounters a bus driver played by David Oyelowo, who has the potential to be her love interest. As the audience we find ourselves wondering: where are these relationships heading? Will she remain a prisoner’s wife? Will she date? And why is her husband in jail?
DuVernay reveals vignettes of flashbacks showing the way they were, giving us hints to a time when all was great in their world, prior to the disruption. The clean cut image of the couple makes one ask the question: was this a wrongful conviction? Each flashback provides a clue as Ruby tries to find herself caught in between her old life and what could be anew.
Meanwhile, her abrasive “tell it like it is” mother (Lorraine Toussaint) continues to push her against the wall. Afterall, Ruby is not the one in prison, yet she lives her life as if she’s the one who was given the right to remain silent.
Middle of Nowhere is a film beautifully shot by cinematographer Bradford Young (Pariah). Music is intricately placed to compliment the theme and it’s poetically written. It’s an intriguing film that takes it’s sweet time from beginning to end.
The film will be released in conjunction with DuVernay’s distribution company AFFRM (African American Film Festival Releasing Movement) and Participant Media.