Tragically Common: Jamie Dack, Lily McInerny and Jonathan Tucker on Palm Trees and Power Lines | Interviews

Power, and the abuse of it, is what Tom’s character embodies so insidiously. The script, co-authored by Dack and Audrey Findlay, provides a meticulous study in the art of grooming, as Tom isolates the girl from her peers, while assuring her that only he can see her special qualities, before revealing his true intentions. A key mark of a great actor is the ability to keep our attention rapt simply through listening, and McInerny is utterly mesmerizing as we see her studying Tucker’s face, grasping onto hope even as cracks begin to form in his slick façade. An excruciatingly protracted shot deftly lensed by cinematographer Chananun Chotrungroj of Lea as her newfound entrapment suddenly sinks in is flat-out devastating. 

“Palm Trees and Power Lines” is one of the very best films I saw in 2022, and though it made my top ten list last year while snagging four richly deserved Film Independent Spirit Award nominations—for Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Breakthrough Performance (McInerny) and Best Supporting Performance (Tucker)—the film will finally be having its official release in theaters and on VOD this Friday, March 3rd. My wife and I have been championing the picture ever since we caught it during the virtual edition of Sundance last year, where Dack received the Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic competition. So it was a great honor for me to recently speak at length with Dack, McInerny and Tucker via Zoom for about their unforgettable collaboration.

There is no one I am happier to see nominated at this year’s Spirit Awards than you three.

Lily McInerny (LM): Aw, thank you!

Jonathan Tucker (JT): Matt, you have been so supportive of the movie, on social media in particular, and without voices like you with your platform, Lily, Jamie and I wouldn’t be sitting here, so thank you very, very much.

This film hit me on the deepest possible level, since I have close friends who have been targeted in a similar way by predators who isolate them by saying things like, “No one understands you better than me.” To what extent did research play a role in conjuring this level of authenticity?

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