This short film came to my attention a few years ago when I was introduced to its writer/director, Melonie Gartner, through a mutual friend. When she proceeded to tell me about the film, naturally I was elated! The film was merely in post production at the time but yet I just couldn't wait to see it. There aren't many, if any, filmmakers from the Two Rivers/Manitowoc, Wisconsin area that really make any sort of splash. And here was a woman who was hell bent on not just making a movie for the sake of making a movie, but to tell an actual story. And to tell it within the span of a short amount of time on screen.
Two Rivers is a dark psychological drama about a couple, Dirke and Emma (played by Melonie Gartner herself, and Milwaukee native actor Mark Borchardt. Who is best known from the documentary American Movie), who are involved in a toxic and abusive relationship, two lost souls who are on a primrose path to self destruction. I loved it for its performances. I found Emma to be a bit of an enigma but I felt ultimately Melonie brought so much vulnerability as well as inner-strength to the character. Mark plays Dirke but intimidating intensity in addition to deeply wounded and troubled man. Both of their performances are sure to leave you with knots in your stomach and an aching in your hearts. Not to mention that the film is armed with an ending that left me personally speechless!
Cinematographer Nate Haban delivers in the way he has shot the film! The entirety of it shot in Black & White provides us with a classic film noir look, very dark and moody. But when it comes time to show us some landscape shots, you see nothing but beauty. I lived in Two Rivers, Wisconsin for the greater portion of my life. But when I saw the film, it blew me away. Simply because I had never seen the city I lived in quite like that before, and it floored me. This is one film not to miss!
Two Rivers Movie Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"