With the loosey-goosey attitude and hands-off verite perspective of "Slacker" or "Funny Ha Ha," Paul Gordon's "Motorcycle" is all about wry observation and Zen narrative. Does anything happen? Only if you're looking really closely, which will make "Motorcycle" either a cult hit or a movie that's eventually known as Gordon's first feature.
Movies as disparate as the 1942 studio anthology "Tales of Manhattan" and the 1993 indie "Twenty Bucks" have followed a particular object as it passed through the hands of various characters. Gordon's version uses a relatively small circle of acquaintances and one large object: The motorcycle, which is bought by Chris (Christopher Pratt), stolen by Ingrid (Paula Rester) and given to Brandi (Brandi Perkins). The bike isn't important in itself, but brings the three characters into contact and with each other, and provides each with a small measure of adventure that ultimately proves liberating. What is important to Gordon is the way people gravitate toward and away from each other, and why: It doesn't sound like much of a storyline, but as slice-of-life movies go, "Motorcycle" is a generous portion of humanity and significant gestures.
Camera (B&W, Super 16/DV), David Hartstein, Lucas Millard, Matheson Muir; music, Steve Wille. Reviewed at Slamdance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 23, 2006. Running time: 81 MIN.