- 1 hr 26 min
Park is a charming indie film, released in 2006, that follows a day in the life of a group of six Los Angeles residents as they traverse through an urban park. The movie's characters - both human and canine - each have their own quirks, problems, and personalities, and their unique interactions make up the heart of the film. The movie opens with a young woman, Peggy (played by Dagney Kerr), walking her beloved dog. Peggy, who lives next to the park, is a struggling singer-songwriter who is feeling depressed after being rejected by a record label. As she walks her dog, she meets a young man named Nathan (played by Rick Ravanello), who is a fitness-obsessed personal trainer. The two begin to flirt and exchange numbers, but their budding romance is put on hold when Nathan is called away to tend to a client. Elsewhere in the park, a young homeless man named Troy (played by William Baldwin) is scavenging for food and other supplies. Despite his dire situation, Troy has a dog named Buster who he loves dearly. Later in the movie, Troy will have a fateful encounter with another of the park's residents, a businessman named Dennis (played by Tank). Dennis is a high-powered executive who is facing a moral dilemma at work, and he uses his time in the park to clear his head and decide what to do. Vincent Riverside plays Nicky, an emotionally-damaged man who is searching for his lost dog. Nicky is almost always drunk or stoned, and his erratic behavior puts him in danger on several occasions throughout the movie. Nevertheless, Nicky is a sympathetic character who has experienced a great deal of pain in his life. Finally, there is Claire (played by Anne Dudek), a stressed-out mom who is trying to juggle her kids, her job, and her own needs. She frequently brings her children to the park to play, but finds it hard to give them the attention they need. Claire is initially at odds with her neighbor Peggy, but the two women gradually develop a friendship that helps them both through their personal struggles. One of the things that makes Park so enjoyable to watch is the way it weaves together the stories of its characters. As they cross paths and interact with one another, we get a sense of how each person fits into the larger community of the park. There are moments of humor, pathos, and unexpected tenderness, all of which are rendered with great empathy and sensitivity by director Kurt Voelker. Another notable aspect of Park is its use of location. The park where the movie takes place is a real-life Los Angeles landmark, and Voelker employs a number of clever techniques to showcase its various nooks and crannies. We see the characters playing basketball, lounging on benches, riding bicycles, and interacting with the park's many dogs. The park feels like a character in its own right, and gives the movie a distinctive sense of place. Ultimately, what makes Park such a enjoyable movie is its warmth, humanity, and sense of optimism. Although the characters face a variety of challenges throughout the day, they all have moments of connection and joy that remind us of the power of community. The movie's ending is bittersweet, but it feels earned, and leaves us with a sense that even in the midst of life's difficulties, there is always hope.