Where Is Kyra? (2017)

ANDREW DOSUNMU

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.  /USA, 2017, , , .  Story by , Darci Picoult, Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by Film Editing by .

Kiefer Sutherland and Michelle Pfeiffer in Where Is Kyra

makes a rare foray into independent filmmaking with this dour and dreary examination of a woman on the skids.  Taking care of her aging mother in their Brooklyn apartment, Kyra (Pfeiffer) is devastated by her mother’s sudden death, then plunged into the harsh reality of her own mounting debts in her absence.  She has been unable to find a job since leaving her marriage a couple of years earlier, and has no income other than the social security cheques that keep coming in the mail thanks to Kyra’s making an error on her mother’s death certificate.  Seizing the opportunity, she begins showing up at the bank in disguise to cash them until she can find a job, which continues to prove fruitless, the only respite from the weight of her troubles a neighbour in her building () who begs her to stop risking the trouble she could get into if she is caught.  Throughout the film are too many poorly lit scenes that smother the entire operation in irritating obscurity, emphasizing a sense of gloom that is not justified by any substance to the plot: Kyra’s dilemma is sympathetic, but references to her past marriage life that should point to some kind of a secret are a missed opportunity, the sequence in which she goes to her ex-husband’s home should unlock a lot of narrative doors but is as lacking in reward as the rest of the movie.  It becomes quickly apparent that director Andrew Dosunmu only has one note to strike, we don’t see the degradation of Kyra’s life as she succumbs to poverty, it’s not about her starving or going insane, nor do her lies become more interesting as a way to reveal some kind of psychosis or brilliance on her part.  Whatever fascinating exploration of identity and anxiety that could be brought up by Pfeiffer’s dressing up as an old lady to fool her neighbours is ignored, leaving a film that could only be read as a Crime Doesn’t Pay informational.  Pfeiffer handles herself brilliantly throughout, but Dosunmu’s direction plays like James Gray without feeling or humanity, leaving her dangling despite how natural and controlled she is.

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