Murder of a Cat is perfect for people who like silly, relatively obscure, low-budget indie movies. I’ve always had a soft spot for such films. In the days of streaming, you’re most likely to encounter them on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or another such site as many never even make it to theaters. Murder of a Cat was released in 2014 but is the kind of movie that is likely to get most of its views as people discover it streaming, as I did on Amazon recently.
Murder of a Cat was directed by Gillian Greene, who, according to IMDb, has only directed one other film, a short. It stars Fran Kranz (who’s appeared in a couple of suspense thrillers, Cabin in the Woods and The Village) as Clint, an awkward young adult who lives with his mother and a cat named Mouser. Given the film’s title, it’s hardly a spoiler to reveal that the cat is murdered early on. As an arrow is sticking out of the animal’s body, it clearly was murder.
Clint teams up with Greta (Nikki Reed), a young woman who oddly lives in a retirement community, giving haircuts to seniors in exchange for rent. It turns out Mouser secretly lived with Greta half the time, so they unknowingly shared ownership of the cat. Murder of a Cat’s best-known actor is J.K. Simmons, who plays a lightweight version of his typical tough guy roles, in this case, a cop who’s also dating Clint’s mom.
The plot is silly and complicated, involving an unstable chain store owner and a couple of shady employees running a fencing scheme out of the store. Leonardo Kim (more recently in Westworld) is both funny and menacing as unhinged hoodlum Yi Kim. This brings up a recurring theme of Murder of a Cat, the uneven shifting from comedy to suspense and drama. This isn’t always handled smoothly and sometimes the attempts at humor don’t work, as when Clint “jokingly” tells someone that his mother has AIDS. Of course, if you’re a hardcore animal person (which I basically am, but not to the degree that I can’t appreciate some dark humor), you won’t find the whole premise of someone shooting a cat with a crossbow amusing.
Despite its imperfections, I appreciate the fresh energy of movies like Murder of a Cat. I also have to respect the people who make movies that have little chance of large-scale commercial success. I’ll go out of my way to see this type of film while snubbing anything related to superheroes, Star Wars, or any franchise. I suppose these smaller movies may achieve some type of cult classic appeal, but even there the odds are not great. So I have to believe the motive was simply to make an entertaining and original film that isn’t completely predictable.
Netflix is really pushing I’m Thinking of Ending Things, the enigmatic film directed by Charlie Kaufman, based on a book by Iain Reid. This movie isn’t typical for Netflix, which tends more towards the mainstream while Charlie Kaufman is known for experimental indie efforts such as Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, and the extremely challenging Synecdoche, New York. I’m Thinking of Ending Things approaches Synecdoche in terms of obscurity and the mind games it plays on the audience. Unlike that bizarre film, however, you don’t realize what you’re in for until the last half hour or so.
Your reaction to this film will tend to fall into one of two categories. Either you’ll think it’s a brilliant, original, and mind-bending work of art or you’ll dismiss it as a gimmicky movie that tries too hard to be clever. My reaction was somewhere in the middle. It is clever and mind-bending but it also relies on a fairly frustrating and not all that original gimmick.
I’ll avoid spoilers as much as possible. The interesting thing about I’m Thinking of Ending Things is that, unlike most obscure and intellectually challenging films or TV shows (for example, Twin Peaks or anything by David Lynch), Charlie Kaufman has actually explained what this film means, or at least the gist of it. You can read his comments in an interview with Indie Wire. I suggest watching it first. This is sort of refreshing. I mean, there’s a long tradition, which Lynch exemplifies, of telling viewers to make what they will of the film. Kaufman is rare in actually solving the mystery.
I‘m Thinking of Ending Things is ostensibly about a couple, Lucy, though her actual name is a matter of contention, which is a clue about what kind of film this is (Jessie Buckley) and Jake (Jesse Plemons) who are driving through a snowstorm to visit Jake’s parents, who live in a remote farmhouse. In the beginning, Lucy narrates, expressing her intention to end things with Jake for fairly vague reasons (i.e. the relationship isn’t “going anywhere”).
From the start, we notice that everyone is, well, strange. Jake has an ominously quiet personality (exacerbated if you’ve seen other parts Plemons has played on shows like Fargo and Breaking Bad) while Lucy seems to be fragmented and unsure of who she is. If you pay attention, you’ll notice odd discrepancies. For example, when they arrive at the farmhouse, she says it reminds her of where she grew up. Yet, less than five minutes later, she claims she grew up in an apartment.
Jake’s parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis) take the weirdness to a new level with their awkward giggling fits. More striking is that their ages morph from one scene to the next. At this point, we realize that things aren’t merely odd but downright surreal. From there, it only gets stranger.
In the background is a school janitor (Guy Boyd) who appears to be observing and/or thinking about these characters, though his connection to them remains obscure.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a film you really need to study rather than just watch. The best approach would be to see the film then read some reviews, especially ones that contain Kaufman’s revelations. Then see it again. To be honest, I’ve only seen it once and I don’t think I’ll watch it again. I mostly enjoyed it but I just wasn’t that impressed with the contrivance. At around 2 hours and 15 minutes, it’s a long stretch.
I have a certain ambivalence about films or novels where the creator is playing with your mind and manipulating your expectations. I’m probably giving a bit away here, but I’ll say that if you think Fight Club was one of the most brilliant novels/films ever, you might love this. On the other hand, there’s also the problem, particular to modern media-crazy society, of getting jaded with devices that may seem clever at first but then appear derivative.
The idea of art being derivative is more of an issue the more alternative or arty you get. With a conventional thriller, rom-com, or a heist movie, for example, you accept that you’re dealing with a genre and have certain expectations. With more experimental works, however, the stakes are higher and the recollection that you’ve seen it all before is a harsher criticism. That may be because an experimental approach sacrifices certain qualities such as accessibility and comfort.
We tolerate the contrivances of a genre film as long as it offers at least something original. Yet when your expectations are shattered, you want it done in a way that’s not just clever but unique. For me, the film wasn’t quite brilliant enough to justify all the mystery. At the risk of sounding prosaic, I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t turn out to be something more conventional, such as that Jake and his parents were Satanists who fed guests to the farm animals. But that’s not really what Charlie Kaufman does.
I try not to be the kind of reviewer who says that you “should” or “shouldn’t” see a film. In regard to I’m Thinking of Ending Things, if you’re even remotely interested in offbeat and intellectually challenging films, you should definitely watch it and make up your own mind. On the other hand, if you prefer straightforward plots where the characters’ very identity or existence aren’t in doubt, you may want to skip this one.
Safe is one of those low-key films it’s easy to miss even though it received quite a bit of acclaim when it was released in 1995. Directed by Todd Haynes, this is a stark and understated psychological drama starring Julianne Moore as a suburban housewife who becomes increasingly distraught over symptoms and chemical sensitivity.
Safe is the kind of film that raises more questions than it answers. Anyone who suffers from an autoimmune disease such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or a host of other conditions) may identify with Carol. On the other hand, you can also interpret her situation in a more existentialist way. Is Carol actually physically sick, or is she suffering from a kind of societal malaise that leaves supposedly successful people feeling empty and at odds with an increasingly alienating environment?
In the early scenes of Safe, Carol is shown shopping, having coffee with friends, and driving her Mercedes around nondescript, affluent suburban California neighborhoods. When she first describes her symptoms, she mentions being under stress. Yet her life contains very little stress, at least as conventionally defined. What we can see is that she moves through her life in a robotic way, barely connecting with her unsympathetic husband and her friends from the gym. Her perpetually blase affect is contrasted not by her bland surroundings but by references to the more dangerous and passionate wider world, as when her son excitedly talks about gangs or she hears a fundamentalist preacher on the radio.
As Carol’s symptoms worsen and she doesn’t get help from doctors, she visits Wrenwood, a retreat center that’s run by a self-help guru named Peter Dunning (Peter Friedman). Wrenwood, like Carol’s illness, is hard to pin down. Friedman’s new age rhetoric is meant to be inspirational but it also emphasizes that people are responsible for their own conditions. Is Dunning helping people reach their potential and heal themselves or is he a huckster taking their money while mouthing cliches? As with Carols’s illness, you have to make up your own mind.
At one point, Carol makes a halting, confused speech about how much Wrenwood has helped her. Julianne Moore does a superb job of playing a character whose words are often incongruous with what she’s actually feeling. Soon even the isolated retreat center isn’t sufficient escape from the encroaching pollution and chemicals as Carol starts to believe that fumes from the nearest highway are reaching her.
As Safe has little in the way of a linear plot, I don’t think discussing the ending really qualifies as a spoiler. The final scene (from which I’ve posted a clip from YouTube) reveals that Carol has retreated still further, to an isolated igloo where she’s alone, breathing through a gas mask. The final scene has her repeating “I love you” into the mirror with an utterly hollow expression that belies this affirmation.
Safe, as you can probably gather, isn’t an uplifting film. It has a protagonist with an undefined problem with no apparent solution. With such murky material, I feel entitled to my own interpretation, which centers on the film’s title.
I actually started thinking about this film partly because in 2020 we’re living in a time when the word “safe” is repeated endlessly and people are widely concerned about symptoms, even if from a virus rather than the more nebulous environmental contaminants faced by Carol. The whole idea of being safe brings up the eternal dilemma of living in a world that is inherently unsafe and suggests that when we place too much value on safety it turns us into prisoners at odds with the very fabric of life. The latter, of course, is only one possible interpretation. To me, the film is elegantly ambiguous, leaving us to take from it what we will.
The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man is a documentary on Netflix about a curious phenomenon involving the comic actor who’s reinvented himself as a kind of trickster guru over the last decade.
“Bill Murray sightings” have been reported for many years. These are seemingly random incidents where Murray appears in unlikely places such as a kickball game, a college dorm, or at a random party. Filmmaker Tommy Avallone sets out to document these sightings and find out if they are real or simply bizarre urban legends.
These aren’t like typical celebrity sightings. Murray is always alone and simply blends into the local culture. As Avallone discovers, many of these stories are true. The documentary has footage from several of these events as people are shocked and overwhelmed to have a star in their midst.
You can look at Bill Murray Stories in a number of ways. On one level, it’s a study in the modern obsession with celebrity. Several of the interviewees have almost religious awe at having met Murray, saying how the experienced transformed their lives. This is touching yet also a bit disturbing.
On the other hand, Murray seems intent on providing inspiration and positive energy without the usual celebrity fanfare. Even if these encounters do make the celebrity gossip columns, Murray doesn’t really need the exposure at this point. He seems to be having a good time as he elevates the environment.
We’re also reminded that many of Murray’s films such as Razor’s Edge, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack and even Meatballs have a transformative message. In a strange way, Murray truly seems to be a latter-day Zen master who is now wandering the world inserting himself into the lives of ordinary people.
There’s also a clip from Coffee and Cigarettes, one of my favorite Jim Jarmusch films, which is a series of semi-improvised sketches with odd pairings of celebrities having random conversations. In one scene, Bill Murray plays himself pretending to be a waiter, referencing the whole Bill Murray Sighting phenomenon.
Possible Spoiler Alert: Bill Murray is never directly interviewed in this film. All the footage is taken from previous “sightings” and public appearances (such as one Murray made at a Comi-Con festival). This, however, is actually part of the appeal of Bill Murray Stories. If Avallone had full access to Murray, it would just seem like another insider piece. Instead, it’s more like a doc you might catch at an indie film festival.
Boyhood is one of the most impressive films in the career of Richard Linklater, a director known for making innovative and captivating independent films -e.g. the Before Sunrise trilogy, Waking Life and Dazed and Confused, to name just a few.
Most of the publicity around Boyhood comes from its gimmick -the fact that it was filmed over a 12 year period, in which we get to see the characters, especially star Ellar Coltrane, grow older. This certainly adds something to the movie and makes it truly unique. The only films it has been compared to in this regard are the Up series, which follow the lives of characters every 7 years. Those, however, are documentaries, which are a different breed altogether. It is indeed fascinating to watch the protagonist Mason (Coltrane) grow from a 6 year-old to an 18 year-old college student by the end.
Boyhood, however, should ultimately be judged by its merits as a film, not by the method used by the director. And in this regard, it succeeds triumphantly. What I admire most about Linklater’s films is the way he blatantly violates the cliches of formula filmmaking and nevertheless manages to end up with movies that are so much more compelling than the paint-by-the-numbers efforts of his more conventional contemporaries. At the same time, his style is down-to-earth and doesn’t make you feel like you’re watching a performance piece that’s being clever and artistic just for the sake of it.
For this reason, a film like Boyhood ends up being far more interesting that it sounds like from the description -which is the exact opposite of most movies. A kid grows up; his parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette) split up; his mother makes some questionable choices for replacement fathers; Mason dates a girl who ends up disappointing him…none of this is very noteworthy on the surface. Yet, with Linklater’s script and direction, there is scarcely a moment that’s not fascinating.
Boyhood has some of the philosophical, somewhat trippy dialogue found in other Linklater films, especially Slacker and Waking Life. Characters manage to convey intelligent and existentialist mindsets without coming off like people in a 1960s French New Wave film (not that there’s anything wrong with that -just that it could come across as pretentious and unlikely when the setting is 21st century America).
Creating dialogue-centered movies without having them sound like stage plays is a skill Linkater has perfected. In the Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight series, he avoids this (mostly; the final entry does get a little melodramatic towards the end) by the diverse settings. In Boyhood, there are similarly a multitude of settings, from backyards to wooded areas to the colorful streets of Austin.
Boyhood is a major cinematic achievement, both for the way it was created and, more importantly, the final result.
In Blue Jasmine (2013), Woody Allen recovers a little of the brilliance his films from the 70s and 80s displayed, while at the same time reminding us that his outlook is dated. Cate Blanchett, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2014 for her role as Jasmine, is what really turns an interesting idea into a truly compelling movie.
Many reviewers have focused on how heavily Blue Jasmine borrows from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Indeed, the film follows the basic trajectory of that play quite closely, though changing the setting and dates. This is especially apparent when you consider that Cate Blanchett actually starred in a version of A Streetcar Named Desire only several years ago.
As the film opens, Jasmine is a formerly wealthy New Yorker who is forced to move in with her far less affluent half sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco. As we meet Jasmine, she is the picture of decayed elegance as she mutters her life story to a stranger on the plane. Jasmine is alternately condescending and pathetic as she is forced to accept charity from someone she clearly feels is beneath her.
Much of the film consists of flashbacks that reveal Jasmine’s life with her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin), a wealthy but corrupt financier who is eventually arrested. Not only has Hal ruined Jasmine’s life, he has also wreaked havoc on Ginger and her ex-husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay) by getting them to invest in a crooked real estate scheme that bankrupts them.
While Blanchett’s performance, along with all of the other characters is brilliant, it’s hard to overlook some of the ways that Woody Allen is out touch. At the time Jasmine and Ginger meet up, Ginger is living in what is apparently the last non-gentrified block in the city of San Francisco. She is raising two boys and working as a stock clerk in a grocery store.
These details illustrate how Woody Allen does not understand how the other half lives. At a time when even white collar workers must share housing in cities like San Francisco, Allen’s notion of poverty is having Ginger inhabit a spacious, bohemian chic apartment that she and her boys have all to themselves (at least until Jasmine shows up).
On a similar note, Jasmine laments how she was forced to move out of Manhattan and into Brooklyn after her husband’s empire collapsed. Allen, as usual, is still living in the 80s, when Brooklyn was still considered a remote “bridge and tunnel” borough that only housed the less fortunate (at least from the insular Upper East Side-centric view of Allen).
Still another example of cultural myopia occurs when Jasmine takes computer classes so she’ll be able to study for an online interior decorating degree. This is, admittedly, a rather minor plot point, but we are supposed to believe that a sophisticated forty-something woman from New York City doesn’t know how to use the internet in the 21st century. This is more a symptom of someone from Allen’s generation rather than Jasmine/Blanchett’s.
The blue collar characters who revolve around Ginger are all borderline anachronistic stereotypes. Fortunately, the actors who play them succeed in making them actual human beings. Andrew Dice Clay, never especially funny as a self-consciously un-PC standup comic in the 80s, has just the right blend of menace and pathos to play Augie, a contractor who allowed himself to be swindled by Hal in a weak moment.
By the time Jasmine arrives, Ginger has begun dating another unstable blue collar type, played by Bobby Cannavale, a possessive, hard-drinking type prone to fits of weeping. As if this wasn’t enough, Ginger has yet a third suitor, played by another (more popular and successful) standup comic, Louis C.K., who infuses his character with just the right amount of nuance.
Jasmine, for her part, is also not lacking in admirers. First, an overly amorous dentist who she works for and then, more promisingly, a suave diplomat who she promptly lies to about her past, which everyone but she can see can only lead to disaster.
Blue Jasmine is certainly not an uplifting film, which is not surprising coming from Allen, who has been more influenced by European cinema than the feel-good Hollywood rom-com tradition. This film, however, doesn’t provide the kind of comic relief that, in many of his earlier works, balanced out the dark existentialism and nihilism. Jasmine is presented as a tragic and irredeemable character who is doomed to live in a world of self-delusion. The film, as much as any other Allen has directed, reveals the director’s cynical view of human nature, one that recalls the ancient Greek truism that “character is destiny.”
In Rubberneck, director Alex Karpovsky also stars as Paul, in the familiar movie role of an obsessed stalker. Yet the film is sufficiently subdued and character driven that it manages to be more engaging than the typical entry in this genre.
Paul has a brief fling with co-worker Danielle (Jaime Ray Newman). After a weekend together, however, Danielle is clearly tired of Paul, who remains willfully ignorant of her disinterest. Rather than having Paul immediately transform into the psychotic stalker, however, Rubberneck gives us a series of painful and awkward moments as Paul loses control.
Rubberneck is one of those rare films that is actually better than the description makes it sound. Aside from the stalker cliche, we learn that Paul has abandonment issues regarding his mother. This type of Freudian back story has been used so many times in the last 50 years or so of cinematic history that it has the potential to be painfully familiar. Yet here it actually seems fresh and believable. Karpovsky comes across like a real person rather than a foaming-at-the-mouth psycho. Although his nerdy, repressed character is never quite sympathetic, he is at least believable and human.
Part of Rubberneck’s authenticity comes from the focus of the workplace environment. Paul, Danielle and a dozen or so other people work in a claustrophobic lab that conducts tests on guinea pigs. Karpovsky (as director) does an admirable job at capturing the low key, everyday interactions that seem trivial but carry potent emotional undercurrents. For example, we see Paul trying to appear casual as he watches Danielle flirt with another co-worker. We can sense his inner turmoil, but Karpovsky (the actor) doesn’t overplay this. He never quite loses control -until he does.
Rubberneck is a small, indie film and is not exactly momentous or groundbreaking. Yet it’s a fascinating and fresh look at a subject that most movies reduce to near parody.
Alex Karpovsky has been busy with interesting, low key indie films in the last few years, in the role of actor and/or director. I also enjoyed his performance in Supporting Characters, an inside look at the making of a film.
Frances Ha, the latest film from director Noah Baumbach, whose earlier films include Kicking and Screaming, The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding and Greenberg, can be seen as a revisiting of territory made familiar by Woody Allen decades ago.
The fact that Frances Ha was shot in black and white and explores the lives of young and artsy New Yorkers makes the Woody Allen comparison inevitable. Yet this and other Baumbach films also show other influences, such as Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan and even perhaps Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise. The latter might seem a stretch, but in that iconic indie film from 1983, Jarmusch portrays aimless pre-hipsters in Brooklyn who, among other things, engage in cryptic conversations and have the tendency to take pointless journeys. Stranger Than Paradise was also a black and white film, and even has a character who wears the kind of hat common in today’s hipsters (who no doubt all saw that film).
None of this is meant to imply that Frances Ha is merely a derivative work or one that simply retreads familiar territory. Like Quentin Tarrantino (a very different sort of filmmaker overall), Baumbach has the gift of being able to present familiar themes in a manner that is completely refreshing and entertaining. Frances Ha is no exception. This film was co-written by Baumbach and star Greta Gerwig, who plays Frances.
It’s a little difficult to describe the plot of Frances Ha, as it’s mainly a series of scenes and montages. Some have identified it as a look at close female friendships, and how they can almost border on romance. At one point, Frances says to her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner), “We’re like an old lesbian couple that doesn’t have sex.” While the relationship between the two twenty-something women takes up a lot of screen time, the film is really broader in scope. It’s an exploration of a contemporary bohemian lifestyle that must come to terms with economic hardships.
Frances, unlike some of her friends and roommates, is struggling to support herself as a dancer. At one point she moves in with a pair of well-off kids who say things like, “We’re thinking of hiring a maid; it only costs $400 a month.” Yet, even though she has trouble paying her rent, she stubbornly refuses to take a receptionist job at the dance studio where she teaches part time because it’s not in line with her creative aspirations.
Frances Ha will annoy some people, because there is no effort to make the protagonist or her friends universally likable or accessible. In fact, if you are not young, hip, educated and/or urban, you may find these characters as alien as members of a tribe on a continent you’ve only seen on the Discovery Channel. In this manner, Baumbach follows in the footsteps of Woody Allen, whose Upper East Side elitist professionals were never meant to be representative of America at large.
I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Baumbach’s films, and Frances Ha is no exception. They are driven by characters who, while not always rational or likable, are complex enough to be believable. While some of the dialogue seems slightly over-the-top in its self-consciousness (you might catch a whiff of Portlandia here as well), some people actually do talk this way. Frances herself, however, does not come across as pretentious or overly hip; she is more the product of a certain milieu that compels certain ways of talking and thinking.
Unlike many other indie films that wallow in quirkiness, Frances Ha does not go overboard trying to convince you that its characters are adorable. If you end up liking Frances, its because you accept her as a person who somehow transcends stereotypes.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011) is another in what has become a popular genre in both mainstream and independent movies -grown men who literally live in their mother’s basement. In fact, the directors of this film, Jay and Mark Duplass have already covered this territory in one of their prior films, Cyrus. Fortunately, they manage to create original and compelling characters in both films and go beyond the mere slapstick and vulgar humor of Hollywood versions of man-boys, such as Stepbrothers.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home may not even be the ideal title for this movie, as it’s more about coincidences and synchronicities (another popular topic in movies) than about an adult still living at home. This is made explicit right from the first scene as Jeff (Jason Segel) raves about how much he loves the movie Signs.
Jeff, of course, lives his entire, apparently aimless life following signs. The entire film takes place in a single day as Jeff follows one “sign” after another. It all starts with a wrong number where someone asks for “Kevin.” This leads to Jeff getting mugged, intervening in his brother Pat’s (Ed Helms) marital problems and eventually playing a crucial role in a life-and-death situation.
Susan Sarandon also has a role as Jeff and Pat’s mother who is dealing with an existential crisis of her own that parallels her sons’ situations.
I have some fascination with signs (though I’m not a big Shyamalan fan, at least post Sixth Sense), so I mostly enjoyed this offbeat and often funny look at someone who follows them with a passion. On the other hand, Jeff, Who Lives at Home definitely tests our credibility as it wraps everything up in an unbelievable, almost TV movie type manner.
All in all, however, I appreciated the questions posed by Jeff, Who Lives at Home and enjoyed the performances and the quirkiness it displayed for most of the journey. It’s a short film, less than 90 minutes but the length feels about right.
I think a more ambiguous ending would have been more appropriate, as in real life signs (at least metaphorical ones) seldom point things out in a manner as concrete as this movie suggests.
Entrance (2012), directed by Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath is an interesting and extremely minimalistic indie film. In fact, the movie is only 84 minutes long, and hardly anything happens the first hour.
Entrance is about the quietly unfulfilling life of a single young woman (Suziey Block) in Los Angeles. She lives in the trendy Silverlake neighborhood, has a roommate and must walk to her job at a coffee house when her car breaks down.
It’s difficult to say too much about the plot without giving away crucial details. Suffice it to say that the film is effective about building a very gradual sense of foreboding. This builds to a climax that turns it into a more traditional type of genre film and in this sense it was a bit of a disappointment.
I have a higher than average tolerance for very slow moving films that focus on mood, character and atmosphere. Yet Entrance still tested my patience as it crept along at a snail’s pace for the first hour. I think the payoff could have been handled with a little more originality, as what emerged was a rather cliched villain whose type can be found in thousands of low budget films and TV shows.
Still, I admire the way the directors were willing to take their time and emphasize the everyday life of the characters. I wouldn’t be surprised if their next film is more impressive overall.