Idiocracy, kept relevant in part due to think pieces and adoptions of aspects of its worldview by both sensitive liberals and the “based” right, has never strayed far from my mind. I thought it’d be worth questioning the qualified endorsement I gave this seeming underdog and victim of 20th Century Fox’s release mismanagement.
Here, cannibalism rather than vampirism is the favored protean allegory for outcast rootlessness, codependency, hormonal youthful yearning, and antsy wanderlust. Mostly it is about not belonging, with cannibalism stepping in for commoner differences.
The older film is often classified as a noir (even though it is lacking some of the tropes and visual signifiers of that pseudo-genre), which del Toro has taken as an excuse to stuff his version with constant cigarette smoking and monsoon-like rainfall in his usual literal and immoderate fashion.
A Few Great Pumpkins
Unfriended: Dark Web, Penda's Fen, The Collector, Someone's Watching Me, The Queen of Spades, Angst, Amazing Stories: "Go to the Head of the Class"
There is a formal adventurousness here typical of Kurosawa, who has seesawed between genres both throughout his career (horror, sci-fi, and dramas like Tokyo Sonata) and within individual films (Doppelganger transitions from a loss-of-identity thriller to a sort of satirical romance). The constant element is a sure-footed aesthetic precision.
An occasional tin ear for old-guy dialogue suggests Linklater might still be more comfortable with the casual-philosophical badinage of those a decade or more his junior, but the 12-year gestation gives the film the distance crucial to its angry, sad, but, in hindsight, wise perspective on the early Iraq War years.
Free Fire is often reminiscent of the cash-in Tarantino-esque titles that invaded video stores after Pulp Fiction, time capsules like 2 Days in the Valley, City of Industry, or 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, rather than being a new or exciting thing of its own.
There is high public interest in stand-up comedy, evidenced by the popularity of Louie, The Aristocrats . . . the ability of comics like Hannibal Buress and Amy Schumer to make headlines and the preponderance of specials on streaming services like Netflix. But the subject has been a hard nut for narrative features to crack.