Get us in your inbox

Quiet City/Dance Party, USA

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Photograph: Benten Films

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Along with directors Andrew Bujalski and Joe Swanberg, filmmaker Aaron Katz has often had his work described as “mumblecore,” but it takes only a cursory glance at Katz’s films to realize that the m-word is a nonmovement: Quiet City (2007) and Dance Party, USA (2006) continue a long and noble tradition of movies devoted to young white folks talking about their feelings. Katz is unafraid to acknowledge his debts to the masters of the genre: The made-in-Brooklyn City strongly evokes Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, while Dance Party, shot in Portland, Oregon (Katz’s hometown), plays like Superbad rewritten by Neil LaBute.

The story of Jamie (Erin Fisher), a visitor from Atlanta who spends a day with Charlie (Cris Lankenau), a charming but inarticulate guy she meets in a Park Slope subway station, City is a masterfully understated chronicle of the beginning of a relationship and surely one of the most romantic portraits of Brooklyn ever captured on film. Dance Party, also follows a young couple, Gus and Jessica (Cole Pennsinger and Anna Kavan), who meet at a beer-soaked Independence Day bash and bond after Gus makes a chilling confession. There’s a touch of Larry Clark–Gus Van Sant sensationalism at first, which soon gives way to a poignancy that recalls the work of Katz’s fellow North Carolina School of the Arts alum David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls). Both films are distinguished by a confidence and sincerity that pegs the 26-year-old Katz as the kind of director who, before he hits 40, will have had at least three books written about his work.

—Andrew Johnston

You may also like
You may also like