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EUFF 2018 Review: “The Drummer and the Keeper” (2017) ★★★


Mental illness is a very important subject matter that is often overlooked in the cinematic world. Whether we want it or not, we should acknowledge the importance of the painful subject and look for something that can ease the daily life of ones who, at some point, feel more limited in functioning than others. While there are many forms of mental illnesses like autism or Aspergers syndrome, we are yet to learn their complete impact on human beings and whether if the same syndrome can be reversed or not.

Writer/director Nick Kelly tackles the difficult subject of mental illnesses, the struggle of finding a true friend, whether it can be had or not, and how to function in a society that rejects people that do not fit into the accepted norm. Christopher is a high functioning autistic and also has Aspergers Syndrome whereas Gabriel has bipolar. Their condition keeps them busy with constant doctor visits but not enough to keep the two individuals away from building a strong friendship.

“The Drummer and the Keeper” is an interesting indie movie that may not find a wide audience but will gain enough number of viewers to address such a crucial issue. It is also a very charming story of Gabriel who’s a member of a rock band group as a talented drummer. Both of them are partially rejected by the society due to their unfortunate condition, yet they somehow manage to overcome the obstacles in their life that finds them every time.

We truly need to have more movies like this. Of course, we did have “Rain Man”, but that’s the only one that I can remember of that could leave the same impact as Nick Kelly’s version. Of course, both movies can’t be compared to each other. But in terms of subject matter, I should admit, it has the same message to deliver. So, as we watch Gabriel ad Christopher becoming friends, we see how sensitive they are, how eager they are to have their own life, girlfriend or a simply fully functioning life. But as they both realize this is something they may never have, it’s still amazing how they never give up on themselves by acknowledging that any problem can be overcome if they have one trustworthy person by their side, in this case, a friend.

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