Local filmmaker David Kabler’s Wanderlost is a surprising work in many respects — especially for a do-it-yourself local production. It looks good. It’s got a lot of style. It sounds good. It’s an excellent effort and further evidence of the evolving maturity of local filmmaking. I freely admit that aspects of it are simply not my line of country – the whole train-hopping fixation baffles me — but the film is exceedingly well done. Anyone interested in the local filmmaking scene — or simply in do-it-yourself filmmaking — should make a concerted effort to see it.
It should be noted that Wanderlost is probably of more interest as an example of what can be accomplished with low-to-no-budget filmmaking (and how this is accomplished) than it is as a film. As a film, this is very much a niche item. It presupposes the viewer’s interest in grit for its own sake, graffiti and, as mentioned, train-hopping. These are not on everyone’s agenda—although there’s little denying that Kabler has used them well. But put that aside and consider the way in which he’s made the film. That’s what’s more interesting on a broad level.
Look at the film in terms of pure atmosphere. Consider the careful composition of virtually every shot in it, and the always evocative choices of location. Watch carefully the way the film is put together. And if you’re thinking of undertaking a project of this ambition — and it is ambitious — take note of the extremely limited amount of dialogue. There’s something to be learned in that last respect alone. The quickest way to kill a movie made with nonprofessional actors is to let them speak too much. There’s much of worth to be gotten from this film.