Jess + Moss
The film is superbly acted by the two leads which is crucial for the film’s success as 95% of the movie is just two of them on screen.
2011 was dubbed the year of the cinema; films like The Artist and Hugo were called tributes and homages to film and radially catalogued as gems in film history. There was one film left off that list: Jess + Moss. Written and directed by Clay Jeter and starring Sarah Hagan and Austin Vickers, this quaint, borderline experimental film truly appreciates the art of film.
The film is superbly acted by the two leads which is crucial for the film’s success as 95% of the movie is just two of them on screen. Jeter experiments with a variety of techniques, including the use of reels that are over twenty years old and took a gamble by omitting a score from the first half of the film.
While it has a coherent plot, its vignette-style construction allows for greater intimacy between the characters and the audience. The film centres on two second cousins who spend a summer at their abandoned cabin in the backwoods of Kentucky.
Both characters have slightly odd attributes, and a close, if strange, relationship with each other. The film doesn’t offer any explanation to the characters’ actions or statements, and that is part of its beauty.
The dialogue at times seems almost improvised, which adds to its great, experimental feel. Sarah Hagan is brilliant as the troubled Jess, and Austin Vickers (in his feature film debut) is a darling as the innocent Moss.