Documenting privileged life in NYC has become a tired endeavour: Noah Baumbach, Ira Sachs, Woody Allen and Lena Dunham have all dissected it and stitched it back up. Director Alex Ross Perry tries to bring something new with his strong, visual style and the love he has for his ostensibly unlovable characters in his latest feature Golden Exits .
The film tells the story of Naomi (Emily Browning), a visiting student from Australia who has started an internship with archivist Nick (Adam Horowitz) who collects and categorises the sundries of notable people. New to NYC, Naomi tip-toes around Nick’s network: his flippant sister-in-law, Gwen (Mary Louise Parker), his jaded wife Alyssa (Chloe Sevigny) and ne’er-do-well Buddy (Jason Schwartzman) who’s desperately trying to open his own music studio.
Seeing this world of privilege through the eyes of a newcomer imbues the lush surroundings and trappings with a sparkle, as if we’re seeing it for the first time. The world-weary characters are charming and endearing because Naomi can’t quite wrap her head around them or how they could have grown tired of life in New York. These Brooklynites are so accustomed to their stasis that Naomi’s arrival sends ripples through their delicate network and they all react and change in subtle ways.
Ross Perry stressed a desire to strip down his style and relinquish himself of all the devices he normally relies on. The aesthetic and flow of Golden Exits display a confident vision without fast-paced editing or dramatic hand-held camera. The delicate grain of 16mm film captures the ennui-ridden characters bathed in dappled sunlight in late summer. The excellent cast exude an effortless connection and refuse to let this slow-burning snapshot of male menopause wallow in self-pity or morose tragedy.
Golden Exits oozes charm and wit and the combination of an air-tight script and the perfect actors render the characters distinct and almost unforgettable. Unfortunately, Ross Perry doesn’t quite do enough to distinguish himself from his predecessors and the film leaves a pleasant but transient impression.
Golden Exits does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Golden Exits here: