Informed by films like Gus Van Sant's "Paranoid Park," Antonio Campos's character study of a prep school social misfit named Robert (Ezra Miller) is an intimate psychological journey into a coded juvenile mindset. The film's institutionalized atmosphere is all smooth surfaces and drab colors. In the room that Robert shares with a roommate, he watches cruel porn that will give him ideas about how to treat a sexual encounter with Amy (Addison Timlin), a girl he has a crush on. Robert's brief foray into bliss is negated when, during a student filmmaking project, Robert witnesses up close the death of twin sisters overdosing on cocaine that's been cut with rat poison. While the school employs grief counseling, Robert gets a would-be therapeutic video assignment to edit together a memorial video tribute for the deceased twins. Gus Van Sant could learn a thing or two from Campos whose assured direction is present in every frame of this thought-provoking art film.
(IFC Films) Not Rated. 107 mins. (B+) (Four Stars)
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