Friday, July 19, 2019
Knives and Skin (2019) Fantasia 2019
Misrepresented in the Tribeca to sound like its either a Peyton Place look at a small town or thriller, it is in fact a not very good mystical satire full of dead pan off center humor that will either thrill you or make you run from the theater at the pretentiousness of it all.
The film follows the events that follow the disappearance of a 15 year old high school girl in a town that makes Twin Peaks look normal. As every one rambles on about their own shit they sort of look for the missing girl whose body drifts around the river banks.
Filled with over saturated colors and restrained performances that make Steven Wright seem emotive this is a love it or hate it film. You have to click with the film's humor or this is two very long hours in the theater.
And don't get me wrong this film is supposed to be funny but I and the critics I saw this with weren't certain at first- the write up gives no clue about that. For a good portion of the first five minutes I had no idea if they were serious or not, I mean the dead girl's mother wanders around her house with a big butchers knife simply because she always has a knife with her. I suspected it was all a joke when the soon to be dead girl goes on the fateful date in a band uniform, has glowing glasses and carves a glowing C in a guys head. With knowing stabs at being funny, we think a pregnant woman is having a baby only to discover she is getting oral sex by a man dressed as a clown, the high school logo is a beaver shaped both like breasts and a penis and everyone always wearing some sort of uniform, this film flies its "I'm more clever than you" flag proudly. (No, you're not)
Had they played it straight and not gone for something akin to the Alex Cox of Repo Man making Twin Peaks this might have been something, but the knowing deadpan archness, and not very funny jokes makes it unbearable- especially at minutes under two eternal hours.
Aside from a hauntingly beautiful choral version of Our Lips Are Sealed this is one of the worst films I've seen in 10 years of Tribeca