TWENTY TWENTY ** USA 2019 Dir: Dave Sweeney. 31 mins
Experimental film can be interesting viewing in any genre. Film Noir had the Robert Montgomery Directed film LADY IN THE LAKE (1946), shot mostly in the p.o.v of detective Philip Marlowe. Curtis Harrington bent us with the odd love story NIGHT TIDE (1961) with a young Dennis Hopper. The work of Kenneth Anger with his sharp colors sharp, pristine images with occult and homoerotic symbolism. These films took form, narrative and editing to layer images into a story. In viewing the short film TWENTY TWENTY (2019) one can see influence of today’s larger works by Christopher Nolen and David Lynch. Unfortunately, within thirty one minutes of total screen time, the story and the point gets missed.
TWENTY TWENTY (2019): Directed, produced and written by Dave Sweeney, Nicholas M. Garofolo Associate Producer, Cinematography and music by Marc Fratto.
Dave Slade (NIcholas M. Garofolo) faces internal and external struggles in trying to figure out what’s real or surreal. In the course of this delirium he meets the threatening Terranova (Dakota Wollmer) a woman who claims she’s from the future. This causes Slade to have nightmares, along with the presence of a mystery woman (Francia Fonseca). Slade’s landlord, Mary Lee (Rosie Xu), helps him muddle through as another person, Old Man (Dave Sweeney), mysteriously guides his eventual destiny. Heady stuff for thirty one minutes and it shows.
Using music similar to the work of the 60s films, minus the lava and oil laps, and rapid zooms into eye balls we have taken the journey to someplace that we don’t care about. There are political overtones about Slade dealing with the invasion of Kuwait and Donald Trump. Otherwise the picture comes off as s quirky mishmash of themes, albeit a well-spoken mishmash.
TWENTY TWENTY (2019) could mean clear vision, a building number or hindsight. It makes good use of Coney Island locations, meager rooms with only a bed and dreary walls and hallways. Characters move around, and expound in talking head style with existential references that cloud the mind after a few moments. You end up asking yourself why would I care what happens to this Dave Slade. The name Slade could be a reference to the time traveling Douglas Quaid played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Colin Farrell from TOTAL RECALL (1990) and (2012). Maybe I am reaching but both Slade and Quaid travel to a destiny.
TWENTY TWENTY (2019) tries to do too much within its framework, failing to develop any of the people within the world. The dialogue is said with diction, clarity and purpose. The actors do their level best to make the unbelievable believable. It doesn’t work as a whole. The picture could be a reaction to the mass of conflicting information on life and events causing people not to understand what is real and what is not. This is a way to induce repeated viewing or the have an image stick in your mind so that you have total recall (no pun intended) later on.
The picture has won “Best Psychedelic Fantasy Short Film” at Retro Avant Garde Film Festival NYC. There is nothing psychedelic about it. That was my overriding thought when I viewed it. ‘What does all this mean?’ Perhaps you will have better luck.
Review by Terry Sherwood