The fresh batch of films coming out of Tribeca2017 seems to have a violent teenage psychopaths every time you turn around. What turns our young men into crazy killers? At the same time as a slew of documentaries and true-life tales are depicting the courage and moral fortitude of actual young men around the world, responding to terrorism and war with bravery – going to extraordinary lengths to save lives, we get a bunch of “thriller” films that depict American young men as narcissistic psychopaths who revel in bloody violence. On one hand there is City of Ghosts, Dabka, and When God Sleeps, for starters – peace-seeking films, and on the other is The Dinner, Super Dark Times, Sweet Virginia, and even The Gray State. Is there a cultural connection?
Hey, all you angry progressive liberals, this is your film – to engage your rage. Hey, all you angry lovers of noble and decent democracy, this is your film – to reinforce your sense of injustice. Hey all you morally conscious idealists who imagine a level political field and fair play, get ready to get your hate on! And ALSO all you Republicans, and Libertarians, and you stubborn Trump-defenders: this film is full of quotable, self-satisfying defenses sure to infuriate your naïve, liberal friends who love to hate on you. There is something for every political animal in this movie. And animal may be the key word in that sentence.
The opening night film at Tribeca Film Festival 2017: Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, directed by Chris Perkel – in his directorial debut. The new film premiered at Madison Square Garden, followed by a live performance by several of the musical greats featured in the film – Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, Earth Wind & Fire, Barry Manilow, Carly Simon, and Dionne Warwick. Quite a splashy opening for “downtown” Tribeca. First question is always: Why is this the opening night film and is it justified? I have previously found fault with such choices, because they are often made with profit-making motives taking precedence over artistic merit or relevance of subject, but in this case, I am surprised to report: Yes, this was a good choice, and worthy.
There are two films I’ve seen so far at TribecaFilm Festival 2017 that have very significant similarities – they both center around a pretty blonde woman getting kidnapped, tied up, stuffed into someone’s basement, and abused. Both are also directorial debuts, btw. One is called Hounds of Love, an Australian drama written and directed by Ben Young. The other is called Take Me, an American film written by Mike Makowsky and directed by Pat Healy (who also plays the leading role). That movie lets the audience figure out if it is a crime thriller or a slapstick farce.
I am working on some of my typically long, in-depth essays about several of the films that are being screened at Tribeca Film Festival 2017, but I thought I’d try to post a short and sweet overview/glimpse that might be of use to people in New York who may actually be choosing which films to see. At the least, here’s a brief taste of my mini reviews of several of this year’s flicks: