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Orangutan – One Location, Many Stories

One of the interesting things about socials, focus groups, and special organizations is how you can meet so many interesting people there. I’ve gone to quite a few of these and have met quite a lot of interesting people. You don’t see too many movies about these gatherings though and that’s probably because people wouldn’t want to watch other people sit around for an hour and a half talk about random subjects. It doesn’t always seem the most entertaining. Well, Frankie Gaddo found a way to make it into a movie and make it interesting. How? Have a seat and let me explain.

A woman named Siara (Jan Kamar) brings together 5 people, Eben (Mat Holmlund), Merel (Mike D. Smith), Janet (Olivia Grubic), Paul (Brent Baird), and Beatrice (Caro Coltman) who have all kinds of personal problems. It starts out with everyone coming in one by one and nothing really starts off at first, when suddenly Paul’s wife Liza (Teresa Greco) barges in and abuses him and Paul claims he’s going to kill her. Everybody gives him their own suggestion of how to deal with Liza, and it leads to an argument between them all. Siara calls a break to calm things down and eventually they resume. Beatrice reveals her cat Jerome died, Merel decided to try something new out, Janet is upset that nobody wants to talk to her at school, and Eben wants to find love. Janet goes first explaining a complex situation of when she made out with the school’s most popular boy, Cliff in the pantry and his girlfriend, Amanda tells everybody never to speak to Janet, thus making her a school outcast. Beatrice goes further into explaining how upset she is over Jerome the cat’s death, but it sounds an awful lot like my friend who’s a cat lady herself. Paul is still intent on killing his wife, so Siara decides to take things up a notch by bringing everyone outside for their break time and showing them something. Siara goes on to explain how there is so much in the world to be grateful for as she shows them the great outdoors and the whole world. Nobody seems fazed though so they head back in. Eben goes on to explain his quest for love and how he thought he found it at first until his first love broke his heart and never spoke to him since. Eben became a stalker for a while until she informed him to stop. Eben tries online dating currently, but doesn’t get anyone who wants him. Ultimately his problem is he’s feeling lonely and can’t get a woman. I related to this feeling for a while. I’m sure I knew someone else who went through similar scenarios. Merel interrupts telling Eben to give up and Siara encourages him to not worry about work so much feeling that he’s too focused on business. Eventually he does have a problem worth talking about as the biggest deal ever has gone under and he’s completely upset. Siara and Merel then engage in a toxic conversation which escalates. So far it seems like nobody’s problems are being solved, as they talk about how there’s problems in the world. Siara tries to explain the world can be fixed but Merel believes nothing is worth fixing or helping. Eben and Janet start to think maybe Siara is going through issues herself and question her decisions in organizing the group and trying to help people with problems when she’s working at a coffee shop. Something has to sort out them and their problems and eventually they all have to find a way to cooperate and solve their problems, as well as some others. 

With a feeling of being shot in real time, and bringing up some interesting subjects, Orangutan has no monkey business whatsoever, and one may not go ape over the whole story, but they’ll certainly enjoy it with all that goes on even if it takes place in a big, almost-empty space. The characters are each unique with personality traits both used and unused in many movies giving a fresh and special mixture to the plot, which may not be much, but it’s all the details within that make the story stand out more. Lighting and set isn’t much, but there is at least an exterior scene where everybody steps outside and its truly breathtaking, but not as breathtaking as what is seen at the end, which pretty much points to Siara’s mission and the lesson of the film in a creative way. Frankie Gaddo sure has a way of making something like this seem entertaining, I wonder if his next film will be about a focus group, or an AA meeting, or maybe some old college friends reuniting over pizza? Whatever it is, its sure to change the world a little bit, or even a lot, just like this one is sure to.

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