Journey of a Thousand Casts
This is a very personal film, an very different film but also a very good film.
Before I got to like it I had to get to terms with its somewhat odd concept. The main character - basically the only character in the film - is the angler, the photographer, the video guy, the narrator, the interviewer, the person being interviewed - and probably has a few other roles that I didn't notice.
The concept is basically a discussion or a dialogue between the persona I, me and myself - all represented by the same person, and he is of course the man behind the project: Jeff Layton. Jeff has put himself in the center - and right and left too for that matter - using different video and sound tricks and performs a one man show through a thoughtful and fun dialog about steelheading.
We go with Jeff and a handful of other anglers to the rivers Cowlitz, Deschutes, Grande Ronde, North Umpqua and South Fork Toutle River, and follow his thoughts about this journey of many, many casts. There is landscapes, beautiful rivers, lots of fishing and even some fly tying. And in between we have Jeff talking to himself.
The video quality is very uneven. Some parts are filmed in hand held low rez letterbox format, while others are excellent quality, beautifully composed and filmed. I particularly like the POV-shots done with a camera mounted on the angler, which gives you a special angle that you usually only see when fishing yourself.
The sound quality is also very uneven. Some parts have great sound, others have lousy sound. Some parts sound like they have been recorded in a bathroom or a garage, which may be the case. Or Layton may have added an echo in production.
The video has all the hallmarks of amateurism: elaborate panning and zooming, corners cut by a visible lens hood, drops on the lens, shaken hand held sequences and varying sound quality.
But Jeff Layton earns a lot of points for just doing what he has done. He has embarked on a journey - maybe of a thousand casts - but also of a thousand minutes of video, and he has managed to compress all this video down to 45 minutes of entertainment.
Some viewers won't like it, some will detest it, but I like it!
Respect for the initiative!
I can't rate it higher than 4 on our scale of 6, because the technical quality is honestly not that good, but if you would like 45 minutes of great steelhead entertainment, these 10 bucks are very well spent!