All Films • 24-Jun-2014
Some sort of hybrid throwback, hearkening back to 70's gambling movies, nostalgic for cool, talky 90's L.A. indies, the threat of knockoff is always there, but it isn't one. It brings plenty of its own to the table, authentic & of our time. Aldo is an independent hairdresser in Echo Park, L.A. He cuts some hair, but not enough to live on & he spends more than he has, for instance, buying basketball jerseys at flea markets & making long shot bets on the NBA playoffs, last of which is a 1st round series between the L.A. Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies. On the verge of elimination, Aldo takes an underdog bet on the Grizzlies & much of the film is Aldo listening to the games on the radio, anxiously monitoring his bet on the away team via ever present radio broadcasts. Already in deep with the bookies, this is a last ditch effort to recoup and if he loses, nothing's off the table. If you're not a basketball fan, you may miss some of the particulars of the playoff series talk radio commentary but it mixes in seamlessly, always in the background, always relevant, always anxiety-producing. Meanwhile, the hair cutting scenes are a centering force, serving to endear you to the protagonist, who can seem a little slimy otherwise. His humanity comes through when he's at work, having low-key conversations with clients, particularly near the end with his own father, himself once a hairdresser. There's always an authenticity to the film, even when it reaches for plot or high stakes. Directed by Ross Kolton and starring Dane Mazzei, an intimate & scrappy L.A. story, finding inspiration in indie film canon (Cassevettes, Jarmusch, etc) as much as moving it forward into the hypernaturalism of today's non-performance performances & fidgety, digital aesthetic. -KA.
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