Stuck Between Stations is a Sundance-style indie film that’s not quite original, but still surprisingly affecting.
Set in Minneapolis — where the author of this review grew up — Stuck Between Stations fits comfortably into the “One Crazy Night” genre, along with American Graffiti and its many imitators; the film’s major antecedents, in fact, are all directed by Richard Linklater: Slacker, Before Sunrise, and its sequel Before Sunset.
Stuck Between Stations is the story of Casper (Sam Rosen) and Rebecca (Zoe Lister-Jones), former elementary school classmates who meet up again one night in a Minneapolis bar (First Avenue and 7th Street Entry, the legendary rock club that may be familiar to Purple Rain fans.) The two move through the night, Before Sunrise-style, slowly revealing more and more of each other’s traumatic backstories to one another.
Over the course of the night, they visit a variety of offbeat Minneapolis locations, from various bars and parties to a punk rock circus to a couple of different residences. They also run into a couple of recognizable faces, including erstwhile A-lister and Minneapolis native Josh Hartnett and later Michael Imperioli (playing, in a bit of offbeat casting, a middle-aged college professor.)
The film stays away from the sort of tweeness and preciousness that often plagues indie films. Both lead actors perform quite well despite thin résumés, and the presence of the two stars is never especially distracting.
Directed by first-timer Brady Kiernan, Stuck Between Stations is most skillfully directed, except for an overuse of split-screen editing.
The film also makes good use of Minneapolis locations. It shares a title with a song by a band associated with the Twin Cities, The Hold Steady, although the song does not appear in the film. Kiernan said in an interview last year that the movie is “mostly a reference to the spirit of the song.”
The film played at film festivals and received a negligible theatrical release in 2011; it’s now available on DVD, and is worth discovering.