It’s a curious feeling to see the place where you live appear onscreen. There’s a twinge of recognition as you see streets you’ve walked down and buildings you’ve been in presented in a totally different context through the magic of filmmaking. If only exiting the Rutland parking garage could deliver you to Miami.
It’s a feeling familiar to any Rutlander who’s ever watched a David Giancola film. The local filmmaker has used the Rutland area as the backdrop for a number of his movies. While Giancola’s new film, “Axcellerator,” is no different, it doesn’t stay in any one location too long.
The sci-fi-action-comedy tells the story of Dane (Ryan Wesen), an occasional car thief who ends up with a one-of-a kind teleportation device that puts him on the most-wanted list of a number of shadowy government agencies. Along the way, he meets Kate (Laura James), a similarly down-on-her-luck kid who reluctantly gets roped into Dane’s misadventures.
Wesen and James are a fine pair of young actors who could be going places. Don’t forget, several of today’s top actors, including Chris Evans, Jesse Eisenberg, Kate Bosworth and Paul Dano, have worked with Giancola.
Wesen in particular has a frenetic energy that’s reminiscent of a young Michael J. Fox. It’s a good fit for the film, which Giancola noted shares some of its action-adventure humor with “Back to the Future.”
Further connecting the film to the 1980s is the supporting cast, which features a couple immediately recognizable faces from that era. Sean Young (“Blade Runner”) plays Graham, a mysterious spy with unclear allegiances. Sam J. Jones (“Flash Gordon”) chews the scenery to great effect as Brink, a psychotic bad guy hot on Dane and Kate’s tail.
Frequent Giancola collaborator Mark “Woody” Keppel plays Tomas, a nebbishy scientist who invented the device.
As for hometown talent, Rutlanders will recognize local hot dog don “Big Lenny” Montuori, who shows up in a small but entertaining role.
In addition to being shot in Rutland, as well as various other locations around the globe, the movie also features skiing scenes filmed at Magic Mountain in Londonderry, and Killington.
“I think we made great piece of escapist entertainment that also has a really good sense of humor about it,” Giancola told the Herald in a recent interview.
The film has a fun, self-aware tone that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s evident the cast and crew enjoyed themselves on set. That playfulness comes through in the film, which leans into its genre to deliver a breezy and entertaining 90 minutes.
Locals hoping to check out the film need not wait until its eventual release on cable or streaming services later this year. Giancola will screen “Axcellerator” at The Paramount Theatre at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25. The screenings will feature much of the film’s cast and crew. For tickets or information, go online to www.paramountvt.org.