Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Eric Chaney’s debut feature, “Indigo Children,” doesn’t so much copy Terrence Malick as swallow the filmmaker’s stylistic tics whole and vomit them out onscreen in an ungainly if mercifully brief mess. Apparently based on a pivotal romance from Chaney’s own past, the ultra-low-budget indie follows two charmless teens through a summer of would-be love. After a week at New York’s Quad Cinema, the pic should sink without a trace.
Striving hard for the poetic quality that defines Malick’s work, Chaney employs voiceover, nature photography and turgid passages of mundane behavior to spin the barely coherent and entirely unaffecting coming-of-age tale of sad sack Mark (Robert Olsen) and self-proclaimed “indigo” outsider Christina (Isabelle McNally). She’s intended as some sort of ethereal dream girl, but mostly just hangs out around train tracks and chatters endlessly while Mark stares at her. Meanwhile, Mark’s widowed mother (Suzanne Lynch) has a nervous breakdown, a cat walks across a roof, a pretty girl (Christine Donlon) inexplicably performs a moonlight striptease to get Mark’s attention, and kids play in a stream. Tech credits are amateurish.