ONE OF THESE DAYS
Bastian Günther’s One of These Days is a fascinating drama with an attention-grabbing core concept you can’t look away from. Based on real events, it centers on an annual Texas competition (Hands On) where contestants place their hands on a truck and then try to outlast the other hopefuls to bring the vehicle home. Contestants must maintain constant contact with the truck at all times, but they cannot lean on the vehicle or squat down. 5-minute breaks are given every hour, and 15-minute breaks are every 6 hours. The contest can last for days.
Despite the length of the contest, we learn very little about most of the contestants. This is the rare film I actually wished was a mini-series. Kyle (Joe Cole) serves as the audience’s main proxy in the competition. Before the competition details surrounding Kyle are mostly superficial. Kyle works at a local fast-food restaurant, has a deaf brother, and is motivated to win the truck to provide for his wife and baby. Kyle begins to unravel as the contest drags on from hours into days.
Cole is effective as Kyle, but the true star of the film is Carrie Preston’s Joan. Joan is not a contestant – she’s the marketing brains behind Hands On. A cheaper movie might paint Joan as an egomaniacal villain with an appetite as wide as Texas. Preston imbues Joan with equal parts sweet gusto, social cunning, and quiet sadness. Small details surrounding her family and personal life are given, but they nevertheless contribute to a richer understanding of her every action. Preston shines, but her brilliance also serves to highlight the lack of detail given to the other characters.
The atmosphere surrounding the contest itself is beautifully realized. The imagery surrounding the laying of hands on the gleaming metal car feels explicitly religious. As the contest progresses, certain elements of the plot do begin to strain credibility. Kyle faces many rivals within the contest, but none of the build-ups leads to a satisfying payoff. A twist surrounding one character seems particularly far-fetched. A final coda has rich details but feels like it arrives too late.
The competition at the core of the film is a strong enough hook to overcome the film’s shortcomings. The central themes of One of These Days are gripping and compelling. Ultimately, this was a film I didn’t regret taking for a test drive.
Directed by: Bastian Günther
Starring: Carrie Preston, Joe Cole, Carrie Hernandez
Distributor: Uncork’d Entertainment
In a small town in Texas, an annual endurance contest (Hands On) to win a pickup truck promises thrilling entertainment to spectators and the chance of a lifetime to participants but ends in real tragedy.
From writer/director Bastian Günther, and starring Carrie Preston (“True Blood”, “The Good Fight”), Callie Hernandez (Shotgun Wedding, “The Flight Attendant”), Joe Cole (“Gangs of London”, “Peaky Blinders”), and Cullen Moss (“Outer Banks”), ONE OF THESE DAYS will screen in select theaters and be available On Demand and Digital April 14, 2023 from Gravitas Ventures.
*** SHOWING AT THE FOLLOWING THEATERS
FROM THIS FRIDAY APRIL 14
AND AVAILABLE IN THE US AND CANADA ON DEMAND AND DIGITAL ***
CA – L.A/SAN FRAN
Arena Cinelounge (Hollywood, CA)
Cinelounge – Tiburon (Tiburon, CA)
Kent Triplex (Brooklyn, NY)
Atlas Cinemas Diamond Center 16 (Mentor, OH)
Entertainment Cinemas Leominster 10 (Leominster, MA)