The latest from director Sebastián Silva leaves much to be desired as Tyrel shows moments of promise but nothing much else beyond that.
This is a drama, of sorts, about a bunch of guys partying it up in a house in a remote area. We follow Tyler (Jason Mitchell) and friend Johnny (Christopher Abbott) join the group with the new guy Tyler going through the normal formalities of meeting the others.
You get a sense pretty early of the social commentary at play from Silva, who also pens this film. This manifests itself in the most prominent way in the early interactions we witness between Tyrel and Pete (Caleb Landry Jones). It is uncomfortable and there is tension that is intriguing and gets you wondering what will happen next. There is a weirdness and air of unpredictability with how Jones plays this character. You are always drawn to him in his scenes.
The subtle underlying tensions then bring in the idea of race issues. In one particular scene the group play a game where it is very much brought to the forefront. From this point the film does begin to take some form of shape, but fails to really go anywhere and very much stalls at this point.
There is continuous build-up of tensions and Silva does cleverly create scenarios where you do get a sense of the feeling of divide that Tyler is experiencing. It draws parallels with Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Even more so because Caleb Landry Jones’ character is essentially a re-hash of his role in the Oscar-winning film.
There is no denying that he has a certain panache for playing the slightly unhinged. But when it is basically the same character in a film that shares some similar ideas, it makes it difficult to really connect with Tyrel as a whole.
There is also the very blatant political message at play where Michael Cera’s Alan joins the group and brings with him a Donald Trump pinyata, of sorts. The group then, of course, begin battering it. Cera in this role as an eccentric, seemingly carefree, character is enjoyable. However it all feels rather forced and purely included in the film to make a statement and makes for frustrating viewing.
Everything feels very much one-dimensional and half baked, from the tensions between Tyrel and Pete that really don’t go anywhere to the race issue itself that is introduced but not fully developed and the lack of any clear or set narrative.
Even the characters aren’t fully realised and this makes it hard to have any sort of vested interest on where they are going.
Sebastián Silva bravely attempts tense drama that focuses on social issues and the relationships in an eclectic group of guys but sadly misses the mark. We are, instead, left with a film with some interesting ideas that fail to come to fruition and ultimately feels incomplete.