by Brad Nelson
Finally, a movie about hopelessness and despair that is a pleasure to watch. It had been a dry spell for a while there. Many recent gloom movies I had rented promised a good dose of witty and entertaining malaise but were far too pointless to be pointless. But Waydowntown finally delivered just the right measure of meaningful misery.
This will not go into the pantheon of great movies, but it holds your interest well enough. It’s well-acted, has some good dialogue, and is satisfyingly quirky. It’s a little frenetic at first and looks to be yet another aimless and pointless nose-picker hip yute culture movie where you are practically pulled down to the very ground by the dearth of IQ points. But the resemblance to Tori Spelling was fleeting.
Waydowntown is full of good, but not too obtuse, symbolism. It’s a dose of the eccentric mixed with surrealism, and (god, this is refreshing) it’s not “oh, look at me…I’m such a hip director” showy. The quirkiness and surrealism work not as dashes of pointless camera-shake color but as coherent parts in telling a story and setting an overall mood. To the untrained eye, this movie may look stupid. But it is far from stupid.
Truly good movies are not required to make you look at life just a little differently, if only for a moment. But this one does. It’s to its credit. And I appreciate this film because it tried to do something complex…and actually succeeded. It takes up a subject matter (roughly, the soul-suckingness of 9 to 5 in a cubicle). Instead of defacing this idea with juvenile glib due to a lack of tast and imagination, it actually tells the story with some soul, although in a yute package. 3.2 marble-bottles out of 5. • (655 views)