Rudie Reviews Joe Swanberg’s Uncle Kent [Sundance 2011]

I’m just going to put this out there, right now, it’s movies like this that make me excited about cinema! Whether it be the really big and visually stunning, James Cameron’s Avatar to the very small and minimal, Joe Swanberg’s Uncle Kent, to me, it’s absolutely amazing what cinema can do. And what is labeled as ‘mumblecore’, a genre of film that is small, improve and mostly about budding relationship between 20 or 30-somethings, often getting a bad wrap for it’s lack of filmmaking or scope, a movie like Uncle Kent is just so refreshing and charming.

Uncle Kent follows the life of Kent (Kent Osborne); a just turned 40-year-old cartoonists living in Los Angeles. His life is full of work and strange interaction with people on Chat Roulette. His life is changed when he meets Kate (the delightful, Jennifer Prediger) a journalist he met on the random social network. She’s in town for the weekend and needs a place to stay. Their interactions struggling with relationships, sex and uncertainty of life and careers is so intimate and refreshing to watch. At times playful and brutally honest in the capacity of life of under achievers.

What I get so excited about this the honesty and the direction of the film. Swanberg creates a tone of the uncertainty within this film so well. You can get a sense that anything can happen, at anytime. The actors feel like they are driving the story more so than the director, which is absolutely refreshing. Uncle Kent feels so organic and shows what this genre can do well.

There’s a turn in the movie that involves a planned meeting from Craig’s List with Josephine (Josephine Decker) and leads Kent and Kate an interesting scene of sexual exploration. Taking cues from each other, the scene plays out so genuine and exact. Making this one of the funniest scenes in the movie. Brilliantly staged, conceived and hilariously awkward, the introduction and playfulness of Josephine displays the overall interest in the dangers and thrills of the online social media/network world.

Joe Swanberg continues to develop into an interesting and exciting filmmaker and with Uncle Kent, he stretches his legs with what he can do with in the comedy genre. Fun and sexy, Uncle Kent will please you to no end. Absolutely clever and charming, I can’t recommend this movie enough.

Grade: B+

Rudie Obias

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