Sunday, March 27, 2016

Chasing Banksy (2015) Boston Underground Film Festival

Frank Henenlotter steps away from horror films to make a full on comedy set in the world of art. Its a move that will surprise his fans who'll wonder why he didn't make the move sooner.

The plot of the film has a down on his luck street artist getting talked into leaving Brooklyn and going down to New Orleans to steal a Banksy original off the side of a building. He figures that since some of the buildings are abandoned after Katrina no one would miss it. Besides it would only end up getting painted over. The trouble is that attempts to find a piece that remains intact when he gets there is daunting.

While Henenlotter's films always had a comedic edge that frequently bordered on, if not crossed over into satire, here it's all characters and comedy and it hits the target much more squarely than in some of his earlier films. The target this time out is the art world and the numb nuts who think that they can make a fast buck. Its something that happens when ever a new work by Banksy appears and it was touched on in the HBO documentary BANKSY DOES NEW YORK  which showed what happened when New Yorkers went on a scavenger hunt for his works. Many people tried to steal the works so they'd have an easy payday.

Henenlotter was working on a micro budget which didn't allow for flashy camera work, This was a fortuitous thing since it forced him shoot the film in an almost documentary like style, The result is we feel as though we are in the places where the action is happening. Admittedly the film was shot in real locations, but they don't feel like they were dressed up for the film, they feel real. It all has a weight that more money might have taken away from the look of the film. We buy That these guys are actually chasing real Banksys

More importantly the writing is razor sharp. The lazer like way that Henenlotter dismantles the art world is frequently amusing. Watching all of the self important people taken down a peg or two is very funny, especially if you've ever spent anytime with artistic wannabes.  When I wasn't laughing I was smiling, which is not something that happens all that much with comedies these days.

I really like this film a great deal. CHASING BANKSY is one of the better comedies I've seen this year.

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