04 April 2009


Written & Directed by: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Full credits from IMDb

Directing duo Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden look like they’re on a quest to reinvent American subgenres. As well they should be: too many of this country’s movies, not least of all its indies, have languished too long under the insistent predictability of their narrative and character arcs. Every so often, they need a good shaking up. The directors’ mission began three years ago with Half Nelson, which, years before The Class hit these shores, made the student-teacher movie feel fresh, even stimulating. Rejecting the phony inspirationalism of exemplars like Dangerous Minds and Freedom Writers, it flipped the familiar formula: Ryan Gosling’s antiheroic, crack-addicted history teacher needed salvation as much as his inner-city students did; he leaned on them.

Fleck and Boden, who remain a team since they met and began dating as NYU film majors, now return with Sugar, a baseball movie that, like Half Nelson, bears only a cursory resemblance to its generic forebears.

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