SXSW 2024: Multiple Threads are Stitched Together in the Neo-Noir Film ‘Sew Torn’

Sew Torn
Credit: SXSW / Macdonald Entertainment Partners & Orisono GmbH

“Choices… Choices” 

This is uttered numerous times by the lead character, a young seamstress named Barbara (Eve Connolly) in Freddy Macdonald’s Sew Torn, a feature adaptation of his highly successful short film of the same name. 

Before I get in the weeds with the review of the film I’ll just say, I loved this film. It felt like a throwback to 90s independent filmmaking that was stylish and filled with bold cinematic choices… Voice overs, title cards, zippy camera moves and a playful ensemble cast. It’s a reminder that genre films can still be fun and innovative and if you are a fan of films like Fargo, Run Lola Run and Go, you’ll be right at home here. 

The set-up is right out of a classic paperback… a mobile seamstress who is losing her family’s business comes across a crime scene on a highway with two bleeding men and a briefcase. She has three options… Run, Call the Cops or Mastermind her own perfect crime. Each option is explored in a stylish choose your own adventure style introduction. 

But first… how did we get here? We are quickly given a bit of back story on Babs who is still reeling from the death of her mother who owned the seamstress shop in a small English countryside. Business has long faded and signs are hung up that exclaim, going out of business. 

Her only appointment of the day is a woman who is getting married that afternoon but when a button falls off the dress she must race back to the shop to get a replacement and that’s when she finds the two bloodied men on the side of the road. 

Each story plays out in a very different way with a lot of fun surprises and utilizes its ensemble cast in dramatically different ways through each of the options she has set in front of her. Not every decision in life leads to a happy ending for Barbara leading her back to consider her options. 

A robust ensemble cast includes Mrs. Egel, the town cop, notary and wedding officiant, Beck, the drug mule, Josh, the boss’s son and Hudson, the big villain of the entire story. Each one of these brings a variety of charm and fun to their performances throughout each of the threads but it’s Connolly who is the stand-out as Barbara who is doing a lot of work with her physical reactions and hands as a seamstress who would give Kevin McCallister a run for his DIY weaponry. 

Under the direction of Freddy Macdonald the film is a propulsive and exciting ride from start to finish. It’s the kind of film that 20 years ago would’ve been the talk of the town coming out at Sundance. It feels like the most original take on the crime genre by an independent filmmaker since Rian Johnson’s Brick came out. 

The last film I was able to catch at this year’s SXSW was without a doubt one of the most delightful ones. 

Sew Torn
SXSW 2024: Multiple Threads are Stitched Together in the Neo-Noir Film ‘Sew Torn’