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The first in a projected series of six low-budget HDV features to be released simultaneously in theaters, on cable, and on DVD, Steven Soderbergh's quirky 2005 drama, written by Coleman Hough (Full Frontal), is to my taste the best thing he's done in years. Cast with nonprofessionals and filmed near the border of West Virginia and Ohio, it concerns the elusive story of three characters employed at a local doll factory: a stocky middle-aged woman (Debbie Doebereiner) who lives with her invalid father, a timid guy (Dustin James Ashley) she considers her best friend, and a young single mother (Misty Dawn Wilkins) who's brought on as a temporary airbrusher and immediately bonds with him. Starting off as a low-key psychological drama, this suddenly turns into a murder mystery that's resolved awkwardly and ambiguously, but the fascination of the characters and milieu remains. R, 90 min. Landmark's Century Centre.

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