When trying to describe an interactive movie, the first thought that might come to one’s mind is TellTale’s The Walking Dead or Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain. However, this is not the case for The Garage Sale. While a tutorial of sorts is required to understand how to navigate the movie, it is a true cinematic experience.
The film follows three couples as they all attempt to sell their belongings at a garage sale. Comedy and drama ensue as the sale becomes a release valve for all of the pent-up anguish that the couples had been building up to that point.
It is broken up into three acts bookended by an introduction and an epilogue. During each act, the characters either reveal something stressful or have some funny interaction with a customer. The interactive element comes in when you, as a viewer, are able to jump back and forth between the couples. At the beginning of each act, you are able to select which couple to follow and along the way you can also choose to follow a different one. Each of their narratives is running at the same time, so viewing one couple will result in missing out on the other ones. Although this option is not available for every scene, so there is no way for you to keep switching non-stop. Another nice note is that at the end of every act you are able to replay it so that you can catch elements of the story that you missed the first time.
While this idea is genuinely quite interesting, the project is still a film. Be that as it may, it feels more like a sitcom. The moments, performances, and beats jfeel like they would if this was an NBC show. Switching back and forth between the stories felt like I was changing the channel or coming back from a commercial break. The performances are also very sitcom like, and though they are not necessarily bad, they definitely come across as cartoonish and goofy. Even the score has a fluffy, electronic sound that is reminiscent of half-hour comedies found in 90s and 2000s.
Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of sitcoms so I found the first couple of acts to be annoying and insufferable. However, as it went on, there was some genuinely funny banter and the dramatic beats were well constructed. There are moments when all of the characters stories come together and they are the most impactful segments.
The Garage Sale is a fascinating experiment and will probably be leading the way towards another movement in cinema. It allows the viewer to look at three intersecting stories occurring simultaneously. While at times, the characters can be annoying, there are genuinely well-crafted humorous and dramatic scenes.
The Garage Sale will be released by EKO Studio in later this month on September 19, 2017.