At the heart of August Evening is Pedro Castaneda’s performance as Jaime, an aging Mexican farm worker who must lead his widowed daughter-in-law into a new life without him. For an untrained actor, Castaneda’s subtle approach has the complexity of a seasoned veteran.

He is delicate and obvious, thoughtful and careless, kind and insincere. Perhaps this is why writer/director Chris Eska plucked him from virtual obscurity as a computer networks installer in San Antonio.

One could only imagine the number of hours Eska must have spent convincing producers that casting a non-actor in the lead was the right decision. Then again, has the sweet reliability of chance ever failed a first-time director?

But if Castaneda was the first time director’s masterstroke, he can never be forgiven for hiring himself as the editor. It’s an understandable decision for a film with a miniscule budget of $40,000. But at 127 minutes, I found myself yawning far too early for a drama as emotionally rash as this one.

Grade: B+

August Evening releases in select theaters Sept. 26.