Lost on Purpose (2012) Review

Despite its name, Lost On Purpose is a film that knows its place and fits it well. With an incredible cast and solid script, this Independent film is bound for many more festival circuits and, with a little luck, a full theatrical release.

The Hollywood Film Festival premiered a few weeks ago, and with it some of the brightest upcoming directors were out to showcase their hard work and film making abilities. Working Author got to attend the festival, and while many films stood out, one in particular caught our attention. Lost On Purpose closed out the festival on Sunday night and proved to be both a worthwhile ending to a great weekend, and a genuine surprise.

With a cast that includes (Academy Award-Winner) Octavia Spencer, Jane Kaczmarek, and C. Thomas Howell, Lost On Purpose tells the story of a struggling dairy farm in the San Joaquin Valley, and revolves around the five hired hands who run it. The main characters are introduced early on and almost every one of them is immediately interesting. Keep your eyes on rising stars Tom Fugedi and Peter Donovan, who play two of the ranch hands trying to take their ragtag local band mainstream. James Lafferty (of One Tree Hill fame) served as both the film’s narrator and sole guiding voice of reason. But even he has his problems in the form of a lusty girlfriend (Michelle Lang), who may or may not be staying faithful to him in this small town.

With a shady conglomerate (played pitch perfect by Howell) threatening to buy out and subsidize the dairy, the hired hands must do all they can to help out the cantankerous Ms. Liz (Kazcmarek) from losing her farm. With family values and brotherly love being put to the test, everyone involved has a breaking point. However, whether or not they succeed may only be half the story.

It’s immediately noticeable that Lost On Purpose did not get the big budget treatment it deserved. Being an Independent film, there are some small scenes where you can tell the film makers had to cut corners. Even with the small budget though, the quality of work seen here is top notch, and much respect should be given to the entire production team. Their hard work will undoubtedly make this film a future Slamdance and Sundance Award winner.

Both written and directed by brothers Ian and Eshom Nelms, the film has more laughs and heart than audiences might expect from a small time drama. It also manages to capture a genuine feel that often escapes the grasp of bigger studio movies with much larger talent. Filmed on location in Visalia, Ca. and the surrounding areas, the look of the film is both grand in scale and at the same time comfortably small. The sunrises and long flat landscapes of local farm country give way to breathtaking views of what small town America life is really like.

Here at Working Author, we are often fortunate to see a lot of what Hollywood has to offer firsthand. Sometimes though, it’s even more exciting to see what talented and experienced young filmmakers are doing in the Independent market. With the cost of filmmaking having dramatically dropped in the last 10 years, and the need for quality content greater than ever before, you can hopefully count on more films like Lost On Purpose making their way to the a theater near you.