Film Review: Sidewalk Traffic – MANIFF 2015

Sidewalk Traffic

Sidewalk Traffic makes UK Premiere at 2015 Manchester Film Festival

Making its UK premiere at the 2015 Manchester Film Festival is Sidewalk Traffic, a drama comedy about the harsh world of independent filmmaking.

Directed and written by Anthony L. Fisher, Sidewalk Traffic tells the story of Declan (Johnny Hopkins), a struggling 30 year old filmmaker and new father who is squeezed out of a promotion. Wracked by career envy, bitterness and the suicide of his former creative partner, Declan surrenders to the role of stay-at-home dad whilst his loving young wife goes back to work. Between pushing strollers, changing diapers and heating up bottles, Declan is forced to face his demons, all the while trying to resurrect his dreams of getting the big break with his latest screenplay.

Simple, sad and brutally honest, Sidewalk Traffic is a self-reflective gem that emphasises the harsh reality of independent filmmaking. We watch as Declan’s dreams of pursuing his passion for filmmaking slowly tears apart his life, his family and at times, his own sanity. Personally, I found the film a little hard to relate to as I’m neither a parent nor a filmmaker. I found myself empathising with Declan’s wife frustrations and because of this, the film felt a little slow in parts. Having said that, I’m sure there are plenty of aspiring filmmakers (and parents) out there who will be able to identify with the script in more ways than one.

Johnny Hopkins (Kick Ass) plays a strong role as Declan, the struggling filmmaker desperate to make his mark on the world. The scenes were he visited the resting place of his former creative partner were particularly touching but I would have liked to see more of his passion for filmmaking push through in his other scenes.

Erin Darke (Still Alice) is equally strong as Declan’s wife although her character largely remains unexplored in the film. Like Declan, she is going through her own crisis of leaving her daughter to go back to work and her changing priorities as a parent and I would have liked to seen a little more of this as the film develops.

Heather Matarazzo (Devil’s Advocate, The Princess Diaries) and Samm Levine (Inglorious Basterds, Entourage) star as Declan’s Producer and best friend respectively.

All in all, Sidewalk Traffic is an honest, thought-provoking and candid piece of cinema that emphasises the harsh, murky reality of filmmaking. A decent effort from rising filmmaker Anthony L. Fisher.

3 out of 5 stars

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