A must see film with a must hear soundtrack.
Image Courtesy of IMPawards.com
Director: Peter Sollett
Notable Cast: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Alexis Dziena, Aaron Yoo, Ari Graynor, Rafi Gavron, Jay Baruchel
If Ellen Page is going to forever have to throw the cast off of being a snarky teenager, then Michael Cera will forever be the awkward geek. The problem is that he does it well, and a year after one of the more overlooked performances of 2007 in Juno he’s front and center again as an awkward geek in Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist.
Nick (Cera) is still reeling from being dumped by Tris (Alexis Dziena). He’s a bass player in a band with an obscene name, crafting mix-tapes for Tris that go unrequited and preparing for a future at a music school.
Nora (Kat Dennings) is the good girl who always does the socially correct thing. The daughter of someone rich and famous, she just wants to fit in and not stand out in the crowd. She has to deal with her best friend, who gets obnoxiously drunk.
When a chance encounter puts the three together, and Nora needs Nick to act like her boyfriend, a whole can of worms opens up. Both are looking for their favorite band, who’s playing a secret show somewhere in the city, and team up to try and find the band. In between, they discover a lot about themselves while slowly falling for one another. And what starts out as a quirky independent film in the tone of Juno turns into a conversation in the vein of Before Sunrise, finishing up as one of the best films of the year.
And it starts with Dennings and Cera. Both have been underrated and known for smaller roles over the years but this is their film. They have terrific chemistry with each other, which is the key to the film because they’re in nearly every scene together, and we genuinely want to see them get together. As they spend the latter half of the film talking, we get to know them well. No one in this film is caricature or a stereotype; everyone’s a bit quirky for the most part. But the film doesn’t rely on quirk; it knows just when to tone it down and turn into a serious drama, hitting all the right notes. This is a terrific screenplay and Peter Sollett doesn’t try and get cute with it.
Sollett’s main contribution, outside of good camerawork, is telling a good story. This is more of an actor’s film than a director’s film and he knows this. By combining lots of great shots of New York, as well as some great interior sequences in the clubs as well. The film’s music, which features a lot of obscure bands, is terrific as well. It sets the mood terrifically, as these aren’t people who listen to the Top 40. These are true music aficionados and the music of their world reflects it. It’s nice to see and is a nice touch that adds an authenticity to it that putting on popular bands like Led Zeppelin would take away from.
In 2008, unlike 2007, there have been a lot of good films but not many masterpieces. The Dark Knight was the first. This is the second.
FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):
Tags: Kat Dennings, Michael Cera