Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2022 review: Feeling leads to healing in Nicole Mejia’s brilliant directorial debut, ‘A PLACE IN THE FIELD.’

Unresolved trauma, redemption, and one big promise drives war veteran Gio’s epic road trip. The subtlety of the film’s opening moments tells us precisely who this man is. Taking life one day at a time since returning from war is a deliberate decision. As his journey continues on the open road, so does his perspective on life and others.

Khorri Ellis is the perfect foil for Don DiPetta. The nuance of this performance will stick with you. I want casting directors to take notice here. DiPetta as Gio plays the entire gambit of emotions. The resentment and simmering anger are hiding just under the surface. Surrounded by a strong supporting cast, DiPetta’s vulnerability captivates. Ellis and DiPetta have chemistry that makes A Place in the Field extraordinary.

The use of natural light gives the film life. You cannot ignore the cinematography. The pack symbolism is clever. The juxtaposition of coyotes and Gio’s fallen brothers is unmistakable. Alongside progressively artistic flashbacks from his time in the field, the screenplay is both poetic and cathartic. The emotional pull of A Place in the Field is indescribable. It creeps up on you in a way you won’t notice at first. You feel Gio’s grief and anxiety palpably. If nothing else, it will make you wonder how much we’re doing for soldiers who return from war. When we have police officers get a psych test after they discharge their firearms, it is clear we’re doing the bare minimum for our veterans. PTSD cannot be ignored. A Place in the Field is a real win for Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2022 and for the inevitable wider audiences to come.

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About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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