The tagline ‘Not knowing what the movie is, is the movie’ could not be more fitting for Brian DiLorenzo’s feature film Myth (2020) — I had no idea what was going on for the first hour of the movie. Scenes are certainly deceiving but I don’t mind being lied to when the reveal is so unexpected. Myth feels like a coming of age movie but turns out to be both one of the quirkiest and creepiest (in a weird way) movies I have seen this year.
Myth is a cinema verite movie within a movie that explores relationships, unfulfillment, and deception. It is not so much a thriller, but its comedic notes lend themselves to making this movie a sort of dark comedy. Part cinematic and part shot-on-video, Myth plays with interesting shots and angles as much as it plays with its narrative. 20 minutes in I found myself exclaiming ‘my god, this movie is excruciating’, but by the last 20 minutes, and in retrospect, it is an interesting film that takes a bold approach in telling its story.
Alex (Justin Andrew Davis) spends his time alone, writing movie ideas into Composition Notebooks and skateboarding in his parents’ driveway. A random encounter with local bullies launches him into an even more random encounter with an older man who helps him escape — turns out, the older man is the elusive director JP Smith (the late Nicholas Tucci), maker of his favorite film, Myth. The pair become acquainted while hanging out at the mall where they spot a beautiful young woman, Ruby (Sadie Scott), and decide to follow her. They find themselves at a house party, and not wanting to let the moment pass him by, JP begins to film. It’s not long before his filming becomes obsessive, making their relationship the focal point of his new movie. Though Alex initially agrees, he finds that the lines between his real life and the movie begin to blur beyond his control.
For the first hour or so of the film I literally hated this movie, I thought one of the main characters was unbelievable (as in forced), and I found it difficult to care or even anticipate what was going to happen next. It turns out that this way of acting might have been a red herring. The character’s decisions were unbelievable — an unknown, older man can walk into a barely legal age party and start filming without anyone being weirded out? We’re supposed to believe the kid is so passive and square he can’t operate a Bic lighter? Or turn down a drink from peers? He just starts staying over said older man’s house without conflict from his parents? Police give citations and issue sentences themselves for catching people smoking weed? It just wasn’t adding up, but the variables start coming together.
Myth had the slow pan-in shots, the long, lingering shots of characters looking pensively off-screen, and the indie/garage rock soundtrack that pines for the ’80s that are the typical calling cards of many arthouse young adult indie movies — it even has the presence of a manic pixie dream girl. However, it successfully deconstructs the MPDG character trope in its last scene and it does not play out anything like the typical coming of age indie — it is watch-worthy for these reasons alone. I feel like this movie had the potential to be something like Creep (2014) though, and I was a little disappointed it didn’t get there.
MOVIE RATING — 6.5 out of 10