Listen Up Philip (2014) - by Alex Ross Perry, starring Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, and Krysten Ritter
First Impressions Audio Review
Listen Up Philip, writer and director Alex Ross Perry’s 16mm shot dramedy, is quite a brutal film. As a study of isolation in character, as well as intense divulging in narcissism, the movie has a novelistic quality and structure that both adds to the film and slightly detracts from it, as far as pacing and strength goes. Where the film’s strengths are, plenty of which there are, can be heavily attributed to the performances, specifically in its 3 leads (Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, and Jonathan Pryce) and 1 supporting actor (Krysten Ritter). Their performances combine nuance with very blunt delivery and social urgency. Perry’s stylistic approach to the film pulls from a lot of contemporary similarities, in movies like Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, which this film feels almost like a prequel of sorts to, and differing aspects of Wes Anderson’s various films, especially in how the film’s narrator functions, as well as the unique world at the core that isn’t so fantastical, but ultimately is its own world nonetheless. That said, Perry’s style is absolutely all his own at this point, having made this film and another great dramedy a couple years ago called The Color Wheel. He’s churned out a fascinating character study that takes its time a little too often, but ends up blending laser precision and complexity in character study into a witty and slightly alcoholic success of a dramatic and comedic cocktail.
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