In Our Nature has an unfortunate title. The film concerns two couples from New York–Jena Malone and Zach Gilford and then Gabrielle Union and John Slattery–in a country home for the weekend. Slattery is Gilford’s estranged father, who arrives unexpectedly. Our Nature also, in the possessive sense, refers to the location.
It’s dreadfully cute, but the film makes up for it.
Director Savelson constructs the film like an onion. There are always layers to be uncovered, including some he leaves untouched and just implied. There’s a great scene where the people are starting to bond and Union and Gilford get angry at Malone and Slattery. Savelson implies some unspoken reason for these separate angry people’s feelings, but never explores it. So while the onion construction always allows for some other hurtful revelation to come out and get another scene going… Savelson doesn’t use for that purpose. He’s just put two very secretive men together–if Nature has a fault, it’s how little Malone and Union actually have to do.
They have some amazing scenes and both give great performances–Union probably gives the film’s best performance, which is no easy feat–but it’s about Slattery and Gilford. The first half’s more about Gilford, the second half’s more about Slattery. The women are secondary. The location binds the two men. Their women are just visitors.
Savelson’s direction’s outstanding, great photography from Jeremy Saulnier, great editing from Kate Abernathy and Annette Davey.
Nature’s a fantastic picture. Shame about the title.
Written and directed by Brian Savelson; director of photography, Jeremy Saulnier; edited by Kate Abernathy and Annette Davey; music by Jeff Grace; production designer, Russell Barnes; produced by Anish Savjani, Vincent Savino and Savelson; released by Cinedigm.
Starring Jena Malone (Andie), Zach Gilford (Seth), John Slattery (Gil) and Gabrielle Union (Vicky).