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Good intentions can’t salvage Tyler’s Gift as cliché melodrama

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There's no denying the strength and courage local actor John Lambert and son Johnny must've summoned to star in the short film Tyler's Gift. This past March, Lambert's wife of nearly 15 years, Ivania, succumbed to cancer at the age of 48. In this 10-minute drama, which is directed and co-written by Rogelio Salinas III, tragedy is a major theme. While some might consider taking the role a coping mechanism, it is evident the narrative is a very personal poem to a wife, mother, and friend. Aside from that, Tyler's Gift, unfortunately, doesn't make much of an impact.

The movie centers around Connie (Rachel Salinas), a mother and wife who suffers a double devastating tragedy. In spite of some satisfactory camera work, the film's fixation on conventional images and slow-motion techniques does nothing for the heartfelt emotion Salinas tries to convey. Do we really need a scene where a stray basketball rolls across the street to know something bad has happened? Do we need to see a spilled bottle of pills to know anyone is overcome with depression? They're all cliché and ineffective ways to cut corners, as is the uninspired narration.

Tyler's Gift misses its opportunity to make its own statement on mortality. At best, it's about as proficient on the topic as a commercial for MetLife or a compassionate slide show at a wake.

Tyler's Gift

7pm Thursday, July 26
$9
Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes
1255 SW Loop 410
(210) 677-8500
drafthouse.com

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