Drugs, Youth and a 'Wet Foot Duck'.
Review by: MiamiMovieCritic
Added: 7 years ago
This is the first in a trilogy of films written and directed by Jesse Barack and co-written by Daniel Forberg. Barack is 21, and is already an award-winning filmmaker, having received a festival prize for The Long Road to Gary, a mockumentary he directed at 17. In recent years, the democratization of production and distribution brought about by the digital age has produced a new generation of talented and prolific young filmmakers. This is just as well; look at Fassbinder, whose death at 37 robbed us of who knows how many masterpieces. Young people should get started in film as soon as they can.
Barack has compared Wet Foot Duck to a mix between Paul Thomas Anderson's porn-industry epic Boogie Nights and a Bret Easton Ellis novel. It's about Harvey, a college-age guy who starts doing coke with his girlfriend and spirals downward from there. Like The Long Road to Gary, the film has a meta/experimental style; there's no dialogue for the first 7 minutes. Instead, a sardonic narrator comments on the action, as Harvey and his friends get in way over their heads and end up the targets of violent drug dealers.
The plot isn't much, but Barack makes up for this with a confident shooting style and a multitude of nicely chosen New York locations. The narration is hilarious ("his imagination moved in wild strokes like a fugitive lab monkey"), and the actors are photogenic and appear to be having fun.
Barack has designed the trilogy (Part Two is called Fritz, Francis and Frederick) as an anti-drug cautionary tale for teenagers. Whether it's successful in this respect isn't for me to judge. What I can say is that this director is speaking to his target audience on their level. The behavior of the characters, especially in a very funny bit involving text messages, seems authentic.
Everyone wants to appeal to the coveted teen demographic. Young filmmakers have the added advantage of actually knowing the people they're trying to reach.