Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Making Tracks: Milwaukee Film on DVD

By David Luhrssen
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One thing lifting Tracks above the level of many self-produced indie movies is the acting. Milwaukee director-writer Josh Rosenberg and his crew, including cinematographer Scott Foley, recruited their cast well and guided them ably. Several names in the credits will be familiar to local theatergoers, including Lee Ernst and James Tasse. But even the newcomers and unknowns rose to the occasion.

Tracks, which enjoyed a brief local theatrical debut last year and is out now on DVD, is the story of two high school girls, strangers who become fast friends—maybe a little too fast. It’s a frank depiction of teenage life in the Facebook era and a blunt look at fraying families, abusive men and date rape.

Shot entirely in town, Milwaukee viewers will spot many familiar sights, including the polished white halls of the Calatrava, busy Downer Avenue and the verdant campus of Shorewood High School. Operating within the constraints of a tight budget, Rosenberg made the most of his homespun settings and had an eye for using quick visual moments—a kitchen cupboard stacked with cheap paper plates instead of china—to convey larger ideas of character. If he’s pursuing a career in film, he’s off to a good start with Tracks.

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