Time Out rating:
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says
Tue Jul 6 2010The indomitable spirit of the downtrodden New York micro-budget indie lives! Writer-director Ronald Bronstein’s self-financed, 16mm, seemingly autobiographical debut welcomes you to the inauspicious world of Keith Sontag (Dore Mann), a scruffy, socially awkward suburban New Yorker blessed with that most devastating and contradictory of qualities: pure solicitousness. Ever adopting Columbo’s characteristic pose – hand self-apologetically shading the eyes – Keith, with his damning combination of need and entreaty, insistence and self-doubt, awkwardness and apology, is a good guy to leave alone, as his only (reluctant) friend Sandy knows.
It’s all very mumblecore: annoying and hard to watch. But ‘Frownland’ is compulsive, too. Not only the soundscape – taken from the discordant electronic compositions of Keith’s musician flatmate or the aural effluence of the suburban streets where he works as the world’s worst cold-caller – is deceptively artless; the performances are equally so. Of them, Mann’s is, not surprisingly, remarkably self-effacing and helps no end in giving this admittedly difficult film not only its black comic tone but also its deep, discomfiting emotional tug.
Author: Wally Hammond