This 93 minute Documentary tells the story of Sydney, Ohio (zip code 45365) and it’s 20,000 population of small town Americans.
Throughout its brief duration we get an insight into a Barber Shop, a College Football Team, an Election Campaign, The Police Force, A Radio Station and much MUCH more. For me, this is where the problems with brothers Bill and Turner Ross’ film began. The pair attempted to cram so much in, the movie never seemed to settle and let stories unwind or characters develop. At times it felt as if someone was constantly channel surfing through endless American documentaries, but could never decide which one they liked best. It’s a shame really, as there are some really entertaining characters (the old Black guy who can’t stop looking at the Camera whilst getting his haircut or the elderly mother of a Judge running for re-election) and some laugh out loud moments (the phone-in guy trying to convince the DJ that The Who’s ‘Squeezebox’ is about a Dildo), but we just don’t get the time to enjoy them.
Visually, the Ross brothers do try to add quite a bit of style to their documentary, with touches of art-house flair amongst some more standard documentary footage. The directors break their film into sections, using the digits from the zip code and footage of trains passing by. For me these touches, although ambitious, aren’t really enough for me to connect with the film and leaft me with only a few images to consider after the screening. Although, I did really like the titles and text used in the film, it was good to see some care and thought put into an oft over-looked element of film.
45365 definitely isn’t a bad film, it was just a film I didn’t connect with (to be honest the fire alarm halfway through didn’t help) on the day, I’m sure many others did and I’m sure many others will.