Big Fat Independent Movies

Sending Off SXSW Film 04

Big Fat Independent Movies


D: Curtiss Clayton; with Bill Pullman, Aaron Stanford, Agnes Bruckner, Sandra Oh, Dylan Baker

Narrative Feature Competition, U.S. Premiere

Clayton's stylish directorial debut stars Pullman as Rick, a recently widowed single father and a corporate player treading water as No. 2 to his twentysomething "Big Boss" (Stanford). Rick's first 10 minutes, which introduces Rick's corporate milieu, are a playground for Pullman; the typically staid actor yelps, smirks, crawls, and guffaws to giddy effect through the surreal opening. The film changes gears, however, with the introduction of a sinister headhunter (Baker), shifting its focus from zippy parody to a bleak (albeit funny) look at spiritual depravity. While always visually interesting (if sometimes underlit), Rick's ambitious script (by Daniel Handler) introduces so many ideas – sex, power, grief, the rat race, and an ever-watchful Big Brother, to name a few – that all get short shrift. The film's Maupassant-like ending jars somewhat – it's operatically tragic in a way that rubs wrong with a film so frequently glib – but it's moving nonetheless, a testament to Pullman's dramatic capacity.

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