'Small Apartments'

Daily reviews and interviews

SXSW Film

Small Apartments
Narrative Spotlight
D: Jonas Åkerlund; with Matt Lucas, Juno Temple, James Caan, Dolph Lundgren, Billy Crystal

Franklin Franklin's (Lucas) life is in a rut, even if it is an unusual rut: Practice alphorn, check the mailbox in tighty-whities, listen to daily audio cassette sent from brother in the loony bin, eat pickle with mustard, repeat. But when "dispose of landlord's body" is put on the to-do list, things go haywire quickly. Director Åkerlund comes from a music video background, and it shows. The colors are saturated, and the camera flashes quickly forward and back through time to help us understand how Franklin got in this predicament. The characters and the shooting style seem made for one another, but over the course of a feature, the effect wears thin; by the hyper-colored denoument, it barely registers. Lucas is cast perfectly as the underdog you can't help but root for, but the real standout is the muted Crystal, playing a small but pivotal role. Åkerlund should have trusted in his lovable cast rather than relying on camera tricks and surrealist touches to keep the audience's attention. But the movie stays on the rails, and the ride is bumpy but worth it.


Friday, March 16, 7:15pm, Stateside; Saturday, March 17, 3:30pm, Alamo Ritz

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
Slate includes everyone from Wes Anderson to the Zellners

Monica Riese, Jan. 30, 2014

Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
The comedian and showrunner will speak March 9

Monica Riese, Jan. 21, 2014

More Screens Reviews
SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'Go For Sisters'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Robert Faires, March 15, 2013

SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'The Punk Syndrome'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Patrick Courtney, March 15, 2013

More by James Renovitch
VR Arena Adds Cardio to Your Virtual Experience
VR Arena Adds Cardio to Your Virtual Experience
Virtuix’s new attraction at Pinballz has players running and gunning without moving

March 22, 2019

Austin Video Game Developer Certain Affinity Announces Original Title, <i>Last Expedition</i>
Austin Video Game Developer Certain Affinity Announces Original Title, Last Expedition
Independent game studio also plans expansion to offices in Toronto

Jan. 30, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

SXSW Film

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle