Imagine being at the height of your career, the best in the business–and then you throw it all away. People are wondering What Ever Happened to Jonny Faith, because he did just this. Jonny Faith (Frank Noon) has decided to leave his career as a country musician, and he’s on his way to make things right with his estranged son, Ricky (Jackson Rowden). He hopes to make it there before it’s too late, but only time will tell if he’s successful.
Interestingly enough, What Ever Happened to Jonny Faith really has nothing to do with the titular character. Sure, he’s the main character, the story follows him, and just about everything that plays out throughout the story is contingent on what he does. With that being said, however, this film is about the people we affect. Jonny is the catalyst for just about everything that happens in What Ever Happened to Jonny Faith, but the story belongs to everyone else. A former friend, Alice (Margo Parker), Ricky, and his agent Larry Cohen (Wayne Knight) are all affected by the decisions that Jonny makes throughout the course of the film, and it tells viewers that everything we do not only affects us, but every single person around us. This is a touching tale, one that should resonate with everyone–and, honestly, if it doesn’t, I question whether or not you have a heart.
Before we get too deep into this, I think it’s important to recognize what a great singer Noon is. You could likely experience the full emotional range of What Ever Happened to Jonny Faith without ever acknowledging his vocal talent, but that talent adds too much to the film. Viewers get pain and suffering, the realization that Jonny has lost so much time, and a series of things in between–but the songs that he sings, and his ability to embody the emotion necessary to sing these songs, drives these sentiments home, adding another dimension of emotion along the way. While this piece of Noon’s talent may initially seem insignificant in the grand scheme of the film, I believe that, before long, viewers will understand and appreciate what this does for What Ever Happened to Jonny Faith.
Noon is great in a number of ways, there’s no doubt about that–but part of the reason that he’s able to be so successful is the writing. Writer-Director Benjamin Pollack develops a script that makes it easy for Jonny to appeal to our emotions. That certainly doesn’t take away from what Noon has to offer, but the reality is that this character started strongly on the page. With that, the actor that most impressed was Rowden. He’s given very little dialogue, almost no time to develop as a character–and yet he harnesses so much emotional prowess and plays such a pivotal role in drawing the audience close to tears. With only a handful of words given to Rowden, with almost nothing in terms of character development for Ricky, Rowden takes this character and quickly intills in him a level of emotion that I didn’t believe to be possible here. Everyone in What Ever Happened to Jonny Faith is brilliant, but Rowden steals the show.
What Ever Happened to Jonny Faith is a beautiful film about trying to make up for lost time. What’s so interesting about it is the fact that Jonny, the titular character that has more screen time than everyone else (maybe even combined) isn’t the most important character in the film. Pollack develops a short film that so brilliantly explores the lives of others, not the main character, and brings to life the emotion that would be present in each of them. This is a story about everyone else that will resonate with everyone.
Written & Directed by Benjamin Pollack.
Starring Frank Noon, Debbie Pollack, Margo Parker, Bruce Greenwood, Rusty Anderson, Wayne Knight, etc.