04 November 2011

Silver Bullets

Written & Directed by: Joe Swanberg
Full credits at IMDb

Just about every young person who has made an indie movie in the last five years shows up in Joe Swanberg's Silver Bullets, adding a fascinating extra layer of self-referentiality to this embittered exploration of artistic collaboration. As you'd expect from one of mumblecore's biggest names, this is a movie about young people suffering through romantic problems. But they're young people whose relationships double as commentaries on the filmmaking process, by which Swanberg has apparently become disgusted. Director Ti West, best known for The House of the Devil, plays himself, kind of—the director of a werewolf movie starring Kate Lyn Sheil; she also plays the girlfriend (who's unraveling like a Polanski heroine) to Swanberg, who's also playing a version of his real self, a movie director who makes Joe Swanberg-like movies: arty, improvised, and filled with nudity and sex. (Silver Bullets itself, though, feels sorta un-Swanberg: loose but deliberate, smartly structured and shot with forethought to composition, less perfunctory than much of his fine but forgettable post-Greta Gerwig output.) As these two filmmakers work on their very different movies in parallel, tensions emerge: between commerce and art—between werewolf movies and "new forms"—but more so between art and reality; the movie's interested in the ways they influence each other.

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