With its pensive camerawork depicting blue-collar stasis, One is an American indie wearing cinematic clothes of a European cut. First-time director Tony Barbieri cowrote the script with Jason Cairns, who plays one of the film's principle characters.
Charlie (Cairns) gets released on parole following the mercy killing of his grandfather. He moves in with the family of his best friend, Nick (Kane Picoy), to restart his life. A misplaced punch has bruised Nick's hopes to be a professional ballplayer, and parental pressures amplify Nick's personal doubts. While Nick languishes as a garbage collector, Charlie hesitantly starts a relationship with former supervisor Sara (Autumn McIntosh).
One hones in on the economic and emotional gridlock these men encounter. The film moves slowly, squeezing out possibilities through plot and cinematography. Important events happen off-camera; the sense of entrapment sinks into the cityscape itself. Rough around the edges but ultimately communicative, One is a solid debut for Barbieri.