The History of Future Folk (2012), directed by J. Anderson Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker and starring Nils d’Aulaire and Jay Klaitz, is a strange, extremely quirky low budget independent film. Since the movie is based on an actual musical duo called Future Folk that is currently touring the country, you might say that it opened with a built-in cult following.
The movie is a science fiction-comedy-musical with an extremely thin plot that is full of holes, but this scarcely matters as the whole point is to give a showcase for the pair’s folk-bluegrass musical numbers (which they perform dressed in ridiculous red costumes and helmets). The film, however, isn’t really a musical. A few great songs are present, but overall the movie is more about the transformative power of music.
The gimmick here is that General Trius and Kevin, two aliens from the planet Hondo, arrive on earth and discover music for the first time. Although their original mission was to colonize earth and wipe out the population, they are so enamored of music that they abandon their plans and start a band instead. The audience must suspend disbelief on issues such as how these aliens arrive speaking fluent American English. It’s also a bit odd that they go from being wholly ignorant about music to expert musicians within minutes. Realism, however, is far from the point here.
The History of Future Folk is certainly not a great movie. It is, however, fun, energetic and original. If you look up reviews, you will probably end up reading accolades posted by prior fans of the group. If you’re new to the whole concept, you will probably still enjoy the film but won’t be quite as enamored by it as hardcore fans. The film also references Brooklyn’s hipster scene, as the duo play in a trendy club where the audience dresses up in space costumes just like the musicians.
All in all, The History of Future Folk is a good choice if you like campy, low budget independent films and/or bluegrass style music. If you demand logical plots and/or you hate hipsters, this is not the film for you.