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|Ingrid Goes West|
dir Matt Spicer
scr David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer
prd Jared Ian Goldman, Tim White, Trevor White, Adam Mirels, Robert Mirels, Aubrey Plaza
with Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O'Shea Jackson Jr, Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen, Pom Klementieff, Hannah Utt, Joseph Breen, Angelica Amor, Meredith Hagner, Charlie Wright, Dennis Atlas
release US 25.Aug.17, UK 17.Nov.17
Best friends forever: Olsen and Plaza
SUNDANCE FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
This black comedy pulls very few punches as it follows a social media stalker into her latest obsession. With a fiendishly witty script and a committed lead performance from Aubrey Plaza, director Matt Spicer creates a jaggedly hilarious tone that gets very nasty indeed. Although it dips a little too far into one contrived plot point, the film is both entertaining and a bit freaky.
After her best friend gets a restraining order on her, Ingrid (Plaza) takes the insurance money from her mother's death and heads to California to become best pals with popular Instagram star Taylor (Olsen). Mimicking her Venice Beach lifestyle, Ingrid manages to find the home Taylor shares with her husband Ezra (Russell) and worm her way into their life. She even gets her neighbour Dan (Jackson) to unwittingly help her. But her fragile reality starts to wobble when Taylor's nosey brother Nicky (Magnussen) arrives, bringing a model (Klementieff) who has more than a million followers.
Plaza is always terrific at playing slightly unhinged characters, and here she shines as a young woman who is expert at pretending to be the most amazing person you've ever met. She cleverly layers Ingrid's emotional pain under a shiny exterior, then quietly reveals the truth in unexpected ways. The ensemble around her is also superb, with am engagingly scene-stealing turn from Jackson that marks him as a young actor to watch.
There are echoes of Mike White's 2000 gem Chuck & Buck here, updated to the Facebook age, which adds a series of new angles on how easy it is to obsessively worm your way into someone's life. And even more intriguing is the idea that social media can't be trusted, as people not only put their best selves forward but lie to make life look more exciting than it is. This idea could have been exploited a lot more in this story, in lieu of the extortion/kidnapping climax.
Most viewers will accept that the screenplay needed something to drive the plot into the final act, but turning to violence is too cliched for a screenplay that's otherwise fresh and original. It also switches the film from a character-centred dark comedy into a plot-driven thriller. Thankfully, control is restored for final scenes that are exquisitely awkward and pointed, revealing even more about these people while making the audience's laughter increasingly nervous. Basically, it's far too easy to see ourselves on-screen.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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