Skip to main content

LAFF review MOSS



2017
Directed By: Daniel Peddle
Starring: Mitchell Slaggert, Christene Marzano, Billy Ray Suggs Jr.

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is an awkward time. While the physical transformation has occurred the emotional side of things tends to lag behind. We often wear the suit of a man before becoming one. Maturity is a non-linear path with many detours and regressions. Or as Mary (Marzano) would say "once a child, always a child."

On his 18th birthday, Moss (Slaggert) is ready to leave home and start a new life. He hopes to escape from what he sees as the oppressive watch of his father(Suggs). He lives in an isolated southern community where there are more Alligators than Starbucks. While life in no way appears to be easy for Moss, there is an inherent beauty and simplicity to his existence. Moss and his friends don't have much in the way of worldly possessions but they do have a generosity and sense of calm that's lacking in suburban America. In many ways the inhabitants of this rustic riverside community are far richer than is readily apparent.

Moss's father is an outsider artist who collects driftwood to make his pieces. Slaggert was discovered by Peddle while he was on his way to class. Something about Slaggert caught his attention so he abandoned his academic schedule for the afternoon and doubled back to give him his card. Peddle enjoys working with what he sees as "raw" talent. In many ways Peddle is like the father character in MOSS. Both artists work with their surroundings and find the beauty and power of objects or people that may have been overlooked by traditional artists.

This style of casting gives MOSS a natural tone that plays in contrast to vivid frames he composes. While the world he shoots feels lived in and real, it also has an other worldly quality that explodes with color. In fact MOSS has one of the most impressive color pallets I've seen in quite sometime.

After the first act of the film Moss and Mary partake on a psychedelic journey in a brutal but alluring landscape. I couldn't imagine eating mushrooms that close to alligators. But these guys seem to be fine with it. Then again Moss (earlier in the film) also has a bowl of sugary cereal topped with Sprite as a milk substitute. And if that wasn't enough, he's eating it from what appears to be a... dog bowl? I think. While the film makes no effort to make this lifestyle look appealing, it also never passes judgment. We never feel the hand of the director leading us to judge his characters. Its almost as if the film is setup as a litmus test. You can probably tell a great deal about a person by how they react to these characters and their world.

MOSS just screened at LAFF and it was one of this years highlights.




Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Richard Armitage interview on SLEEPWALKER

SLEEPWALKER is the latest film from director Elliott Lester. Troubled by bouts of sleepwalking and disturbing nightmares, graduate student Sarah Foster goes to her university's sleep research center for help. When she wakes up after her first night of being monitored, the world she lives in seems to have changed in subtle, Twilight-Zone-esque ways. In fact, every time she goes to sleep now, she wakes up in a slightly different version of her world. With the help of sleep researcher Dr. Scott White, she tries to work her way back to the reality she started in. But when they finally succeed, it’s revealed that Sarah’s world is not what she thought at all.

Today my guest is one of the stars SLEEPWALKER, Richard Armitage. Tonight we talk about his work on that film as well as his work as Thorin Oakenshiled in The Hobbit Films, as John Proctor in The Crucible, and his upcoming films Ocens 8 and the Julie Delpy directed film My Zoe.

Sleepwalker is Now Available on Digital HD and On Dem…

Internet Trolls and Critics in the Age of Rotten Tomatoes - A Look at the Critical Response to GOTTI

Hate, intolerance, and cruelty are the most valued currencies in the digital age. Online publications deal in the same eye-catching tabloid headlines that were once exclusive to rags like WEEKLY WORLD NEWS and the NATIONAL ENQUIRER. The monetization of clicks is ruining many forms of journalism and film criticism is just one of them. When organizations can see what headlines are generating revenue its only natural that sensationalism would start to rise. There is no consorted hivemind like conspiracy to destroy certain films but rather internet activity that has boosted a certain type of writer. From the outside, online film critics share quite a bit with their Twitter troll counterparts.

The critical response to John Travolta's passion project Gotti has been less than favorable, in fact, it has been downright abysmal. A project over ten years in the making, Travolta has poured his heart and soul into this venture. And many writers seem to take pleasure in the film's failure.

I…

NO ALTERNATIVE review

Depression is often marked by sadness, despair, and hopelessness. The sense that things will not get better is something most of us pass through at different points in our lives. But depression is something more than that. It’s not just a temporary feeling, it’s a debilitating emotional state that you can’t simply pull yourself out of. The angry outbursts, irritability, and frustration that come along with depression can isolate individuals suffering from this condition and push them deeper into their own thoughts. Everyone needs to be heard and sometimes those who can’t express themselves in traditional forms find their voice in art.
Edvard Munch wrestled with agoraphobia and frequently had hallucinations, one of which inspired THE SCREAM, a painting so iconic that even the most casual art enthusiast is familiar with the piece.  Sylvia Plath took a more direct approach with THE BELL JAR and laid out the details of her depression with brutal honesty. Briana Dickerson a white suburba…