Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 2014. Tribeca Film, Faliro House Productions, Sailor Bear, Washington Square Films. Screenplay by Alex Ross Perry. Cinematography by Sean Price Williams. Produced by Joshua Blum, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, David Lowery, Katie Stern. Music by Keegan DeWitt. Production Design by Scott Kuzio. Costume Design by Amanda Ford. Film Editing by Robert Greene.
Jason Schwartzman contributes his most memorable character creation since Rushmore to this exceptionally intelligent film, a highlight in the genre of New York Talking Intellectuals. He plays an author whose recently published second novel isn’t doing as well as his first, placing his massively abrasive ego into a crisis that does not bode well for his relationship with his photographer girlfriend (an excellent Elisabeth Moss). When he makes the acquaintance of a Philip Roth-esque novelist (Jonathan Pryce), he sees further opportunity to make an ass of himself as he takes his mentor’s position teaching at an upstate New York college and spreads his self-righteous misery among his aspiring author students. Alex Ross Perry presents the perfect antidote for anyone starting to wear of Wes Anderson’s simplistic cuteness disguised as hipster irony, a look at an antihero who is rarely heroic and whose bitter qualities never abate. That said, he’s also compelling and enjoyable to watch, particularly as the people around him don’t let him get away with his behavior for long even though he, very humorously, seems blithely unaware of the damage he does to himself.