650 North is the emotional story of a homeless man trying to find shelter and safety during the harsh winter season. At the start, we see him walking in a suburban neighborhood, looking into windows and, finally, deciding to sleep in a car that is parked on the street. The depiction of him breaking into this vehicle hints at the urgency and desperation felt by the man, as it could ensure he survives the night and dropping temperatures.
The homeless man, portrayed by Gunnar Thorderson, returns to the neighborhood and picks the same car over the next few nights. During this sequence, the audience is left to wonder why he would do this and not just find other vehicles to use or other places to sleep at. Quickly, however, the owner of the car, portrayed by Joshua French, becomes suspicious and catches on to what is happening. Rather than parking the vehicle elsewhere, or trying to confront Thorderson’s character, he accommodates the homeless man and tries to help him out quietly.
Toward the end of this short film, it becomes obvious why the homeless man returns to this area. As more people get involved, the situation changes. The emotion Thorderson emits is effective and he is able to connect with the viewer and make them empathize with the character’s plight. He is lost, confused, and, in many ways, left to fend for himself. At first, he is unsure how to respond to the car owner’s kindness.
Cherie Julander plays the role of the car owner’s wife in this story. She plays a minor role until the end when she becomes aware of the situation. Julander, too, effectively portrays an emotional character and her involvement alone makes this short film worth watching.
650 North comes at a time when homelessness continues to be an ongoing problem, affecting millions of people in the United States. It is a story such as this one that deserves to be discussed and understood and I hope that viewers will become more aware of what is going on around them.
The music used in this piece is balanced and compliments what is appearing on screen. Worth mentioning is Redge Flake, who wrote, directed, and produced the film. Flake’s ability to guide this project and come up with a final product is deserving of recognition. Bryan Fugal and Andy Matthews are also credited as producers.
650 North premieres at the LDS Film Festival on Thursday, March 1st at 9PM, as part of the Short Film Program 4. A Question and Answer session will follow. It will replay on Saturday, March 3rd at 3:15PM.
For more information, visit the 17th Annual LDS Film Festival.