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Friday, September 9, 2016

Antibirth



Antibirth
2016
Danny Perez

Lou (Natasha Lyonne) lives in a messy trailer home at the edge of a decrepit city that swarms with military veterans turned drug addicts. Lou and her friend, Sadie (Chloƫ Sevigny) party and drink their nights away. One evening, Lou discovers that she might be pregnant. As she tries to track down who is responsible, she finds herself getting wrapped up in a far reaching, and not to mention, quite scummy conspiracy. Threatened by shadowy forces from outside and the rapidly growing thing in her womb, Lou meets Lorna (Meg Tilly) a spaced out vet who tells her she is only the beginning of something terrible that could end the world.

Antibirth is a science-fiction/horror/black comedy/psychedelic bit of weirdness that draws inspiration from the grungy yet colorful carnage of Street Trash (1987) and the anarchic paranoia of Repo Man (1984). As far as actual plot goes, Antibirth is pretty light. We follow Lou as she stumbles from plot point to plot point with occasional glimpses into the other people who have become embroiled in her plight. Where Antibirth really generates interest, is in the way it chaotically approaches this simple plot with a mix of colorful visuals, bizarre music cues, and a large helping of vulgarity.

"Who wants some more LSD Cooler™?
Lou is a willfully unpleasant character, she’s crass, she’s hopelessly awash in her own addictions, and she really doesn’t seem to care much about other people. She is the focus of the film, and it’s a tribute to Lyonne’s portrayal that I still be became invested in Lou’s plight despite her rough edges. It's interesting to not that the movie never passes judgement on Lou for her various addictions, it's often played for laughs, but in an odd way it turns out to be a commendable aspect of her. She never compromises herself, even if that means slowly wrecking her body. It probably doesn’t hurt that virtually everyone else is the film is an unrepentant scumbag. The notable exception is Lorna, who appears kind, but is flighty and odd. I couldn’t find myself getting comfortable with her, I kept waiting for her to do something bad.

The world Lou inhabits is in shambles. Nearly every building is run down and littered with garbage. Most people are there to indulge in their vices and escape whatever happened in their past. They aren’t afraid to use other people to get it. It is a fascinatingly awful place to live, and a lot of the film’s energy comes from watching Lou barrel through all of it looking for answers. A counterpoint to all this grit are colorful psychedelic edits and interludes, one of the most notable taking place in a bowling alley/ children’s birthday restaurant.

Apply bacon liberally to neck.
Antibirth is an interesting film in that it can be extremely repellent and weird, but still accessible. It’s colorful flourishes and angular storytelling keep the viewer engaged even when the film pushes back with unsavory characters, excessive substance abuse, and the occasional burst of weird violence. Antibirth is a mean spirited bad trip of a movie and it works perfectly within those parameters. If you have a chance to see it and like having your buttons pushed, I would definitely check it out.

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