Experimental filmmaker Travis Mathews latest movie starts out with a kaleidoscope of slightly bizarre and unrelated images before he rolls out the bare bones of the story. We are never too sure the genre he is aiming for as what we assume at the beginning is probably intended as an audio visual art piece but it then morphs into a revenge thriller before it just dissolves into it’s unsatisfying and vague ending.
Alex (Johnny Mars) drifts around the country living out of his beat up van and whiling away most of his time shooting footage of traffic on the freeway, that is when he is not having anonymous sex with men in slightly sordid saunas. The filming is to do with his obsession with Mandy (Atsuko Okatsuka) who is a leading performer of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) an online video community which evidently has a huge following. Alex is in daily contact with her via the phone as he with wants to go meet her in Portland and show her his work.
En route he plays a visit to his childhood home and is horrified to learn that his mother has just discovered that his grandfather who used to abuse him as a child, is still alive even though he had a bad stroke and can barely fend for himself. Alex does a detour to go stay with him even though he is obviously very conflicted on how he should treat this the aged lanky comatose man who now doesn’t speak at all.
As the movie unfolds we see and hear the many confusing ideas and sounds that are just rushing through Alex’s head, a lot of which relate to the re-emergence of the right wing in the US Presidential elections, and which add little to our insight of his character but contribute more to the setting of the film itself.
It takes an inquisitive and open mind with a very patient soul to want to sit through this intriguing movie which is barely-half baked at times. Mathews movies (Interior Leather Bar, I Want Your Love) are always edgy and controversial, and although this one is his most imaginative to date, many people will find it his least accessible one too.