BIFF Review: Frownland

FROWNLAND: I wanted to go see a second doc, American Teen, about which I’d heard good word-of-mouth,
but ended up getting another round at the Burren and missed the start, so we caught the narrative Frownland instead. This flick is about an anxious, stuttering, disaffected loner in New York who works as a door-to-door coupon salesman. I think it had potential and I can appreciate the gritty, late-60s/early-70s aesthetic to which the director was paying homage, but inside that moody giftwrap was a great short that got bloated and tedious at feature-length.

The trouble is I never connected with the characters, and for an ‘intimate portrait’ film that’s light on plot, that’s a real bad sign. Sitting through scene after scene of the protagonist struggling to hold a conversation through his over-affected stutter got to be seriously excruciating. The people I was with wanted to bail out so we left halfway through. Maybe I should just shut my mouth instead of writing a negative review of a movie I haven’t seen in its entirety, but even if there is a redeeming finish, be warned that you’ll have to endure Act 2 to get there.


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