By: Vernon Nickerson
Whether you are a snow lover or just missing the surreal peace and quiet of freshly fallen snow, you will feel right at home with Bob and his family in writer/Director Diego Ongaro’s drama, Bob and The Trees.
Bob is a sustainable-forester/logger/farmer/husband/father at odds with his inevitable transition into the world of fifty something men. His love of gangsta rap helps him cope with a tree harvesting deal gone bad, the mysteriously worsening puncture wound of his beloved cow, an intimacy-challenged relationship with his spouse and his tendency to attack life’s circumstances by increasingly withdrawing from human contact while pushing away friends and family members.
Filmed in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachussetts during the epically harsh winter of 2014 during a “Polar Vortex” of snowstorms and record cold temperatures; the lush cinematography perfectly provides a framework for the documentary-esque style of this unscripted drama. With the intentional exception of professional actress Polly Mc Intyre as Bob’s wife, a cast of newcomers with no prior film credits comes together to bring to life the story of how Bob gets his groove back by tearing through a life lived as the quintessential macho mountain man via the aforementioned series of unfortunate events.
Director Diego Ongaro co-wrote the treatment (essentially a detailed outline without dialogue) with his wife, author Courtney Malm. Ongaro pulls together Ms. McIntrye and newcomers Bob Tarasuk (Bob) and Matt Gallagher (Bob’s son, Matt) into a gifted ensemble cast telling a compelling tale. Bob begins to rediscover his true self after quite possibly losing almost everything he cherishes: his business, his relationship with his son, and a death which he is indirectly responsible for facilitating. Watching this story of ordinary people trying to survive in extraordinary weather is well worth your 91 minute investment.