Golden exits

Golden exits

MojibMojib   October 04, 2017  
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Perry’s latest film, “Golden Exits,” premiered Sunday in U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance, bound to make it to torrent sites and streaming sites soon. The film follows two families in Brooklyn whose social bubble is disrupted by a visiting girl from Australia, played by Emily Browning. The ensemble cast is comprised of Jason Schwartzman, Chloë Sevigny, Mary-Louise Parker, Lily Rabe and former Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz.

Alex Ross Perry writes films with a great many words in them, and Golden Exits is no exception. However, in this, his fifth feature, the words have very little to do with what’s really going on between the emotionally fraught characters. Instead, the unstated angst, desire, suspicion, frustration and emotional turmoil is almost entirely expressed by Keegan DeWitt’s extraordinary musical score, which runs like an underground river through this elegant and supremely expressive gem of a film. Given its lack of incident and mostly grumpy and/or off-putting characters, this will not be the pic that expands Perry’s small audience. But it is something close to superb.
The movie begins with Naomi (a fabulously innocent Emily Browning, in light blouses and oversized cardigans) coming from Australia to New York to work with archive Nick (a witty and tempted Adam Horowitz), who is known for liking his assistants a bit too much and who is currently archiving his wife’s fathers life. Alone in the city Naomi yearns to connect with new people, that’s why Nick introduces her to his wife, Alyssa (with a graceful bitterness played by Chloë Sevigny), and his sister in law, Gwen (a very fierce Mary-Louise Parker).

As you wait patiently — or perhaps you don’t — for something to actually happen, it slowly dawns that, as is often true in books but not in films, what’s really happening lies not in physical action but in the clogged but still beating hearts of all the characters. And it’s left to DeWitt’s brilliant score to expose all this. You barely notice the music at first, so discreetly is it layered onto the soundtrack. But it’s there, almost constantly, quietly roiling and churning, ebbing and flowing in an exceptionally beautiful way that becomes more noticeable with time but never distracts or calls attention to it. It’s hard to think of another recent example of a strictly instrumental score that was so intrinsically linked to the artistic essence of a film.

Golden Exits is also a movie about people who are not able to share their feelings, even if they paradoxically try to explain each of their problems with as many words as possible. They are all yearning for a happy ending, which makes you want to step into the movie from time to time to give them a hug and tell them that things will be alright eventually.

The film is small and calm on the surface but, apart from Naomi, the characters share a Crockpot of neuroses and pent-up frustration, and their tenuous harnessing of their self-destructive impulses makes them uniformly unhappy. And what do they do about it? Nothing at all.

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Golden Exits Teaser Trailer
Golden Exits Teaser Trailer

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