Monday, June 18, 2018

Mackenzie Davis shines in Christian Papierniak's offbeat knockout of a film

It should be clear by now to anyone who has seen her performance in either Tully or IZZY GETS THE FUCK ACROSS TOWN that the young actress Mackenzie Davis is quite a find. What she needs (as do so many actors), however, is a role strong enough to allow her talent and range to be properly displayed. TrustMovies must admit that, though he 'd seen Ms Davis in a number of earlier films, she'd never really stood out in his memory. Well, she's on his radar now.

Writer/director Christian Papierniak 
(shown at left), whose first full-length film this is, has given the actress a no-holds-barred role that she embraces with just about every ounce of energy and versatility that I have seen displayed in quite awhile. By turns angry, kind, caring and crazy, Ms Davis is so focused and frenetic that, were she not so believable and oddly endearing, she would tire you out within moments. But she doesn't. Nor does this strange film. Oh, it'll have you holding on for dear life at times. But pay proper attention -- the seeds that later bloom are all planted early on -- and I think you'll be very glad you went along for the ride.

Davis, above, plays the title role of Izzy, a young woman whose reputation seems to precede her at all times. At film's start she learns a bit of information about her ex-boyfriend and best girlfriend, and so must somehow -- in Los Angeles, with no car or money at hand -- get far across town to a necessary destination.

From the film's opening -- a nice dream sequence featuring Davis and Dolly Wells, above, right, in which some of those seeds first appear ("It's about a boy? It's always about a boy.") straight through to its low-key but very "earned" conclusion, the movie -- despite all its bizarre riffs and delightful detours -- knows where it's going and why.

Davis' talent and energy holds the film together without a single hitch, but it is also the lovely, surprising, and equally oddball turns from the ensemble supporting-cast that makes it such wonderful, additional fun. Players include the likes of Lakeith Stanfield (above, left) and Alia Shawkat (below, left), both of whom are as fine as always, with Ms Shawkat managing a fine philosophical scene that detonates just about perfectly.

Haley Joel Osment (below, right) and Ms Davis do wonders with another scene that's as sweet and finally funny as you could want, while Carrie Coon (further below), as Davis' sister, brings a fine ferocity, as well as a great singing voice to the proceedings.

The movie is full of fun, surprise and idiosyncrasy as it builds toward its real theme: modern love/relationships and the necessaity of growing up to accept what, yes, we already know and understand but maybe do not want to admit.

It's clear from the outset that Izzy knows exactly who and what her would-be boyfriend (played with just the right amount of sex appeal and emptiness by Alex Russell, below) really is. But it takes some maturation (and repetition) on her part to own up to this.

Annie Potts gets a lovely scene midway along that adds to the both the sweetness and the depth of the film, and for those of us who know L.A. and its environs, Izzy's journey will take on added familiarity and zest.

Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town is definitely a one-of-a-kind movie, but for those of you who appreciate something different, alive and hugely kicking, this one's a must-see. From Shout! Studios  and running 86 minutes, the movie opens this Friday, June 22, in New York City at the Village East Cinema and in the Los Angeles area at Laemmle's Monica Film Center and the Playhouse 7.                                   

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