Alex of Venice is the directorial debut from Chris Messina. It premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival over a year ago. The films at TriBeCa are usually character driven films that end up going to VOD within the next year or so. Alex of Venice is your typical TriBeCa film. It boasts a nice cast, has some decent moments of drama, but it is unfortunately very forgettable. It tells an ordinary story that in no way merits a feature. It definitely feels like a debut. Messina is very direct in what he wants to get across. Throughout the film characters will come straight out and say what they are feeling. Messina rarely shows us what the characters are feeling without them flat out saying it.
The performances are solid all around. Sadly, they are rarely given anything to do. Winstead is clearly trying to make her character layered, but the material doesn’t give her much to do. Don Johnson is fine playing Winstead’s father. His story is a bit played out. He is an actor who is beginning to show early signs of Alzheimers. Coincidentally, he is starring in a play about loss. His story is not particularly interesting. I would have liked to have seen more on the relationship between him and Winstead. Messina barely touches upon their relationship and their past.
The film opens up too many little side plots. Messina never focuses on a certain story. It is touch and go throughout the course of the film. Messina does an adequate job of wrapping everything up. Luckily, Alex of Venice was never boring. Messina knows how to get good performances out of his actors and they work well off of each other.