5 February 2004 | Dotacion
My Kind of Alright
An atmospheric treatment of a life lived in the margins- a struggling keyboard player in El Lay who has nothing left to lose- and his quest for the elusive sound that will make (or break) him.
Also an indirect descendant of 60's experimental film (but with a sense of humor), done with the advantage of modern technology and professional production crew, editors, and especially actors, its only downside is that it is shot on DV. Which, while great for conceptualizing and certainly easy on the budget, is ultimately disappointing to see in a feature. They simply make do.
The material manages to rise above this giant (well, to my sensibility) compromise, but still loses points. I will pay the makers a compliment by noting that Igby Goes Down and Tadpole, two other shot- on- DV features with (probably) higher budgets, could do no better than the makers here, who had the advantage of some truly groovy music to offset the flat visuals.
Maybe they'll get the chance to do it again on film and distribute it to a wider (well, art film) audience.
Earnest and engaging- and very laid back- with nice attention to the details of the struggling musicians life- trading (sometimes naively) through a Recycler like paper, using decrepit phone booths, thrift shop chic, easy drugs and sex (yee-ha). It is very evocative of a *ahem* certain lifestyle of 20- somethings who come to LA and struggle attempt to make something of themselves (which has been going on for decades).
Rory Cochrane keeps the whole thing together, which would doubtless have lost focus without his strong presence. Ross Harris as the psycopathic 'friend' is appropriately barmy- and he has fake sincerity _down_, man.
There is a long list of walk-ons, and they blend well with the overall production. They also appear to enjoy themselves, which gives the proceedings an added boost.
The music speaks for itself, and helps the whole to gel. Beck, Hank 3, Beth Orton, Union 13, Future Pigeon all appear on screen and add their sound to one of the better soundtracks you'll hear (provided you know who they are).
Possibly should be Recommended Viewing for teens formulating their own ideas about seeking the holy grail- or gold record- in Hollywood.