Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with first-time filmmaker David Brewer and discuss his newly completed film, “Nothing in the Flowers.” The movie premiered last night at Headliner’s Music Hall, playing to a packed house.
“Nothing in the Flowers” is, simply put, a story about child abduction. At the start of the film, a young girl has been missing for several weeks with no clue as to where she might be or who has taken her. After brushing aside her mother’s pleas for caution, 11-year-old Amanda Saylor (Tori Ernspiker) is kidnapped on her way to school by the very troubled Cecil Baker (Warren Ray).
Cecil is an interesting character. He is a criminal – he kidnaps young girls – but his motives are not what one would immediately expect. He is not a pedophile; he may not even be evil. His reasons for his actions are more complex than mere violence.
“Nothing in the Flowers” starts out a little weak. A few scenes suffered from poor acting and strained dialogue – Jennifer Shank, who plays Amanda’s mother, seemed out of place in front of the camera, and her lines often came across as recited. In particular, in an early scene in which she warns Amanda to be careful on her way to school, the conversation seems stale and forced.
The film begins to improve, however, during the interaction between Cecil Baker and Detective Keith Saunders (Dale Miller). Saunders is making the rounds asking residents of the area about any suspicious activity they may have seen and does not realize he has happened upon the kidnapper. There is a sudden improvement in the dialogue, and this scene builds tension beautifully while giving us the first serious look at the character of Cecil.
Warren Ray’s performance as the abductor is by far the shining star of this film. He plays his character with a sort of controlled frenzy; even when he is calm, we can see that there is something fighting underneath the surface. We view Cecil with disgust, for his crime is heinous, but there is perhaps a bit of pity to be felt for him as well.