Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Hello Dankness (2023) opens Friday at the Film Forum

The Australian artists known as Soda Jerk tell the story of America from 2016 until today using repurposed and altered movie clips to reveal a country in freefall.

First up if you are a Trump supporter or MAGA cut member you can skip this. The film will simply piss you off.

The first third to half, up until the film shows the Democratic party treating Donald Trump as John treats Garfield, yelling at him, but not punishing him, this film is absolute cinematic magic. Re-purposing films like THE BURBS, WAYNE'S WORLD, George Romero’s LAND OF THE DEAD and others so that they took place in current America is brilliant. The level of angst and spot on vitriol is amazing.  Watching the film I found I was reacting to both the ideas being presented and the actual filmmaking. This film is frequently a perfectly crafted film.

The problem with the film is that after a certain point the film loses focus. Things are not quite tied together. Yes we get brilliant sequences, Spring Time For Hitler over sequences of cops dancing and beating up protesters, but the pieces don’t fit together.  For example equating zombies for true believers never quite goes anywhere after a certain point. Bemoaning Bernie Sanders dropping out of the race in 2016 never pays off despite constant mentions.

While  the film is very uneven, it is still a must see. The points the film makes need to be discussed. The editing and repurposing is brilliant. While I know that this film will date badly and ten years down the road will only make sense to those who lived through the last few years (a point I’m stealing shamelessly from Nate Hood because he is right) for now, it is a glorious piece of filmmaking.

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