Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sundance with Abe: Brigsby Bear

I’m thrilled to be attending and covering the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah for the fourth time. I’ll be seeing as many movies as I can and offering reviews throughout the week.

Brigsby Bear
Directed by Dave McCary
U.S. Dramatic Competition

It's completely possible to shape someone's life by offering them a limited perspective of the world. Dystopian dramas imagine futures where people think emotions are evil or don't know that notions like democracy and free will can exist. Films like "Dogtooth" show a version of the present where people have been lied to and therefore have a vastly inaccurate picture of the universe. One thing is common among all these: the immersion into reality by anyone who previously knew something limited is sure to be rocky.

James (Kyle Mooney) lives in a bunker with his parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams), believing that the outside air is toxic and spending an extraordinary amount of time watching and rehashing the television show "Brigsby Bear Adventures." When James is freed from his unknowing captivity, he must adjust to his real parents (Michaela Watkins and Matt Walsh) and a world that doesn't know Brigsby, his lifelong obsession. Though he is told that his father made the show just for him, James anchors his world to Brigsby, and, with the help of a detective (Greg Kinnear) and some new friends, he sets out to bring a new and final Brigsby chapter to life.

James is a mesmerizing specimen, someone who never had much human contact and tethered himself so strongly to so many untruths. He hangs on to Brigsby as the part of his manufactured childhood that never let him down, and this insanely corny, terrible show does something for him that it can only in an ironic manner akin to cult status for those who grew up in the real world. Brigsby embodies a simpler time, and the way that James idolizes and adores him has the potential to be truly inspirational to those who couldn’t have imagined taking it seriously.

The whole mood of “Brigsby Bear” is one of spectacular entertainment, as the peculiarity of James’ situation in captivity is indeed very strong, and everything he does once he reenters his whole life is filled with puzzling and resultingly humorous words, actions, and decisions. Mooney, who cowrote the film, is superb as James, committing himself entirely to his endless energy for all things Brigsby. The rest of the cast, particularly Kinnear and Hamill, assist in making this film an involving experience that is able to turn this relatively outlandish concept into something that seems totally believable and immersive, not to mention very funny.

This film was picked up at Sundance by Sony Pictures Classics and should be coming out soon!


No comments: