Indie Gems with Nate: Guy X

Guy X is one of those tonally disorientating black comedies whose madcap antics hide a deeper truth, visible only to those patient enough to sift through the meandering detritus. It also helps I your sense of humour is on the right frequency, one that is decidedly off key in this case. Think of a Terry Gilliam film, that mad rush of arbitration and deafening bureaucratic hubbub that serves as a smokescreen for something a little more grounded. Jason Biggs, keeping his dick out of pies this time around, plays Rudy, a low level army grunt who is accidentally sent to an outpost right in the the Arctic, and the middle of nowhere too, as we soon see by his fellow soldier’s boredom fuelled shenanigans. It’s fish out of water, but we get an uncanny sense that he’s also there for a reason, one that takes it’s painstaking time to emerge. Smitten by the beautiful commanding officer (the always lovely Natasha McElhone), hounded by her petty boyfriend  (Jeremy Northam) and constantly swept up in the feverish lack of discipline or coherence among the ranks. It’s all fun and games, to be sure, but there’s a melancholic aura that hangs around, especially when Rudy discovers the titular Guy X (Michael Ironside in a transfixing cameo), a lost and forgotten soul who hints at the futility of military operations, reminding us of how we all cloak our existential dread in frosty self depracation and ironic gallows humour. That’s the film, essentially, which I think many didn’t get. Most of the reviews I’ve seen on imdb are from folks who struggled deeply with the sharp, uncomfortable shift in tone, understandably jarred by a sobering rift between playful banter and troubling reflection. The important films are often more difficult for a idea audience to receive, they’re just constructed that way. This one is no exception, but there’s many a lighthearted moment and comedic situation to be enjoyed before the hammer of reality comes down. 

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