Alan (Justin Rice) is a newcomer to Brooklyn and a musician in search of a drummer. A lot of them get bored of his approach, and he tells one candidate: ‘I like to keep it simple.’ You suspect writer-director Andrew Bujalski knows the feeling: the lovably lo-fi, brilliantly naturalistic technique showcased first in the colour ‘Funny Ha Ha’ and now in the black-and-white ‘Mutual Appreciation’ has seen him justifiably hailed as the great white hope of the American indie film. But, by conventional standards, nothing much happens in his movies: middle-class graduates hang out, flirting and flopping on each other and the furniture, their shambling, self-consuming conversations echoing their aspirational but faltering lives. The films benefit from charismatic leads – Rice, who can do a disconcerting stare or a megawatt smile as occasion demands, wandered into ‘Funny Ha Ha’ covered in dirt, and that film’s star, Kate Dollenmayer, pops up here – and, despite their lackadaisical impression, the pictures are quite tightly structured: each scene covers emotional and narrative distance. Funny, forgiving, credible and deft, they offer much to appreciate.
Friday May 4 2007
Cast and crew
Kate Dollenmayer Mary Varn Bill Morrison Ralph Tyler Pamela Corkey Andrew Bujalski Seung-Min Lee Tamara Luzeckyj Salvatore Botti Justin Rice Keith Gessen Kevin Micka Rachel Clift