“FLIGHT OF THE CARDINAL”–a weekend at the lodge

“Flight of the Cardinal”


A Weekend at the Lodge


Amos Lassen


Beetle Hobbs (David J. Bonner) lives is a small town that is very confining and he wants out. When he meets Grady Wilson (Ross Beschler), he sees a chance to get away. Grady has movied to the Smoky Mountains to run a resort and Beetle gets a job working for him. Robert Gatson takes us through a suspensful experience as the film keeps us on the edge of our seats. There is more than suspense—there is comedy and drama as well, fine performances, beautiful cinematography and a wonderfully literate screenplay. Past meets present and futures are at risk and a group of friends come together for a weekend at Grady’s lodge.

Grady decided to give his life a new start by taking over the lodge. His boyfriend, Andy (Matthew Montgomery in yet another excellent performance), is coming to visit for the weekend along with two other friends, Karen and Rye. Grady has plans to ask Andy to marry him but tensions come along with the guests and the weekend turns out not to be what was expected. When the group realizes that there is someone else staying at the lodge this weekend—Beetle, a small time drug dealer who is now homeless and Grady allows him to stay in exchange fkor a shift’s work. Beetle has a plan and as we learn of Grady’s past, Beetle begins to develop an idea which he can use.

Gaston both wrote and directed the film and he gives us a treat. I love the way things slowly come to light, bit by bit and the same is true of the way we get to know the characters, bit by bit. This is an amazing experience in filmmaking and while the film will leave you shaken, it also leaves you with a sense of having seen something really worthwhile.

Beetle was able to cash in on the fact that Grady acted strangely when his guests come to visit. As Grady’s character falls apart, Beetle’s solidifies and this is the emphasis of the film. Gaston concentrates on his characters, all of whom turn in excellent performances. I think the fact that we really never get to know how Beetle feels about anything adds a great deal of mystery to the film. I love a film that leaves me thinking and that is what happens here. The fact that Beetle is a character that is both weak and strong allows him to remain an enigma long after the film is over.

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