In the early days of the Kicking the Seat Podcast,* my friend and co-host Matt liked to say that his favorite movie moments involved characters hanging out. Though action, special effects, and twisty plots were okay, the real excitement, for him, came when filmmakers pressed "Pause" and simply let their characters be. It's fitting that Matt's closest friend produced Halfway, a movie that's ostensibly about a black ex-con (Quinton Aaron) clashing with the residents of a small, white town in rural Wisconsin. But writer/director Ben Caird is more interested in relationships than sensationalism, and with examining the everyday complexities of race in ways that directly challenge the simple pseudo-commentary of Get Out. Yes, when Byron's old life catches up to his new family during the climax, some of the drama feels artificial. Instead of loitering and falling to predictability, Caird quickly steers us back to the thrills of just chilling.
*Full disclosure: excerpts from the show were used as ambient sound throughout the film.
Listen to Kicking the Seat Podcast #214 for an extensive interview with Halfway producer Jonny Paterson!