Director-screenwriter Bastian Gunther’s feature film that formed part of the 2020 SXSW Film Festival (Narrative Spotlight) lineup, One of These Days, is the filmmaker’s story inspired by actual events in Texas. There used to be contests hosted by auto dealerships or others where contestants were to keep their hands on a truck for the most prolonged period, and they would win it. In 1997, S.R. Bindler’s documentary, “Hands on a Hard Body,” brought more attention to the contest. The film went on to win three awards. In Gunther’s story, there are to be twenty participants. Still, the story focuses on one, Kyle (Joe Cole, “Gangs of London,” “Peaky Blinders”), married to Maria (Callie Hernandez, Shotgun Wedding, “The Flight Attendant”), and they have an infant son. They have financial challenges and need more funds to fix their older model auto. He has grand hopes of winning a truck. In Gunther’s story, we see what the participants go through to win and the cost of trying.
The other participants are not examined in as much detail regarding what drives them to want to win a truck so severely that they put up with movement restrictions for extended periods (among other things. The group is diverse in age and ethnicity, with some elders looking like the activity may be more destructive than this is all worth. There are also various personalities, and some are not individuals that are easy to tolerate for long periods – and the actors are all excellent at showing the audience how grim and brutal this contest can be.
The event organizer is Joan (Carrie Preston, “True Blood,” “The Good Fight”), employed by the auto dealership hosting the contest. As enthusiastic as she appears, she has her troubles with personal relationships, and some people can see right through and see what she is masking.
This chance of a lifetime to win a truck has an actual cost to it, ending in tragedy. When the audience thinks the film will end, it doesn’t. The filmmaker returns to provide more details about the Cole family and their days before the grueling days of the contest. Of note, the Director of Photography, Michael Kotschi, provides some great cinematography of the contest participants in close shots that reveal how their bodies and mental health slowly change the longer they touch the truck.
Cast: Evan Henderson, Jesse C. Boyd, Bill Callahan, and Cullen Moss
One of These Days will screen in select theaters and be available On Demand and Digital on April 14, 2023.
Run time: 120 minutes
Source: Gravitas Ventures