Monday, August 27, 2007

Mutual Appreciation (2005, Andrew Bujalski)

"Alan is a musician who leaves a busted-up band for New York, and a new musical voyage. He tries to stay focused and fends off all manner of distractions, including the attraction to his good friend's girlfriend."

Shot on a very low budget, grimy black and white, and with inexperienced actors. Just based on that sentence anyone who has seen Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise will be quick to compare the two films together. However, I liked this one a lot more

The charm of Mutual Appreciation is that nothing happens at all. Its one of those rare films where the charm is found if the viewer can somehow lose themselves in the blandness of the characters lives. In this film the characters talk about throwaway subjects, play guitar, smoke pot, and talk some more about random subjects.

The charm is that all these moments feel very real. So real that the film is constantly awkward because of how realistic the conversations and movements of the actors feel. Even when there is an awkward silent pause between switching topics of discussion we too feel awkward because of the characters and also because we too have been in that uncomfortable moment many times before.

The moments that film truly does shine though are when we are able to see the lead characters concert. Maybe its because of the films very personal style but this whole section of film bursts with a lot of energy and enthusiasm that we once again feel as if we are there too along with the characters. I wish that there was a youtube clip out there but there sadly isn't one just yet.

Mutual Appreciation is a great little find of a film for people who are looking for something different. Especially for people who are really looking for a true independent films that wears its low budget and inexperience on its sleeve with pride. Although it might prove to be a tough watch at times its a very rewarding watch.

- B+

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