Director(s): Tony Ahedo
Writer(s): Tony Ahedo
Cast: Parker Padgett, Devon Hales
Synopsis: Based on Tony Ahedo’s 2015 short by the same name, ICON follows high schoolers, Sam and Ana, through a decision that will change their lives forever.
Based on the 2015 short from director Tony Ahedo, ICON further fleshes the story out to a full feature-length film. Where the short film felt constricted, Ahedo’s ability to expand upon this story is really thoughtful and well fleshed out.
This film follows Parker Padgett through some tough circumstances learning about his father, his family, and himself in extremely difficult ways. The way this film moves from beat to beat is so natural and real. There is a rawness that you get in this film that is hard to capture in big-budget movies, which is one of the advantages indies like this have when telling real intimate stories. But also with indies like this, what you gain in intimacy you lose in filmmaking.
Sometimes that is the case, but here, there still was an extremely strong level of craft from Ahedo and the rest of the crew that helped this film work so much more. The technical aspects of the film were as strong as any indie you will see. The cinematography is gorgeous and the score will pull you in and help you feel so much more emotionally involved in the story. Ahedo really knew this story he was trying to tell, and Parker Padgett and Devon Hales really knew how to tell it on screen. The two lead actors are the most prominent figures in this film, and they brought their A-game in every scene. They had a certain level of chemistry that helped their scenes feel much more realistic.
This is a film that asks difficult questions about difficult situations. I do wish it would have dove deeper into the relationship between Sam (Padgett) and Ana (Hales), as I think that was the best part of the film. There is a subplot in here involving a half-sister that I did find interesting, but I think that took away from the decisions Sam and Ana were trying to make. Padgett and Hales both give great performances, but when Ana leaves the film for a bit there is a bit of emptiness that I think could have used her character in more. Nevertheless, this is still a wonderfully made film that I would recommend people to watch.
Final: ICON is a raw and real indie that forces you to answer difficult questions under difficult circumstances. Stars Devon Hales and Parker Padgett shine as they carry a bulk of the film, and director Tony Ahedo has an understanding of the story that allows it to feel honest. A spectacular indie film.
Interview With Tony Ahedo, Parker Padgett, and Devon Hales
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.