AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2011
By Caitlyn Collins | October 22, 2011
Writer: David Nordstrom
Director: David Nordstrom
Starring: David Nordstrom, Carl McLaughlin, Lee Lynch
Sometimes it’s what’s not said that’s more important than the words that are spoken, especially if those words come tentatively even with the aid of large quantities of booze. Sawdust City, written and directed by David Nordstrom, takes place over Thanksgiving weekend in the snow covered city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin (Nordstrom’s hometown). Bob (Nordstrom) sits at home sipping beer with his pregnant wife in the kitchen when he gets a phone call from his younger brother Pete (Carl McLaughlin). Pete wants to find their father much to Bob’s dismay. Also to his surprise, Pete is in town having just graduated from Navy basic training, or so we’re led to believe. Bob insists on meeting his brother and eagerly leaves his turkey dinner behind in favor of one of many local dive bars.
Their initial meeting is lukewarm at best, but the two set out on a mission to search for their father hitting bar after bar. As each consumes more beer a little bit more is revealed about each brother individually as well as their relationship with one another. Along the way, Bob and Pete pick up Gene (Lee Lynch), a fast talking heavy drinker with no funds to support his habit. He claims to know their father and the goose chase ensues.
Everything about Sawdust City seems incredibly genuine, including the sibling relationship between Bob and Gene. The cast is small and the bars authentic. You feel for each sibling as they struggle to open up, yet remain paralyzed at the idea of being honest with one another, at least when sober. The holiday setting adds a certain bleakness to their situation. Sawdust City is a great take on the classic older/younger sibling tale.