Movie Review - 24 Exposures
24 Exposures is the latest work from Joe Swanberg, who showed us recently the depth he was able to bring as a writer and director in the film Drinking Buddies. Which begs the question: Why - after working with such talented actors in his previous film and achieving such amazing results, he would then choose to follow it up with a story that never amounts to anything interesting, and cast 'non-actors' in the two leading roles? It baffles the mind. Now, before I go on, I need to say a few things up front. Adam Wingard is a very talented director. You're Next was a masterpiece. And Simon Barrett deserves just as much credit as a strong writer with a lot of potential. But they are not actors, and the film suffers for it.
Billy is a erotic fetish photographer who shoots staged murders of half-naked women with his live in girlfriend. He is also romantically engaged in a threesome with one of the models and his lover. During a visit to a local cafe, he becomes infatuated with a local waitress whom he quickly convinces to model for him. But when one of his previous models turns up dead, he crosses paths with Officer Michael Bamfeaux, an unstable detective whose personal life is in shambles. A weird connection forms between the two as fantasy turns to deadly reality.
My description is most-likely more interesting than the entire film, so suffice to say I do not recommend this movie. The acting is so stiff and one-note that any hope of connecting to either of the characters is lost, and even the ancillary characters phone in their performances. The story itself is slow and definitely not strong enough to be carried by the weak cast. But even using talented actors, I am not sure this film would have been very enjoyable. The through line meanders aimlessly before the predictable climax of the film passes with a whimper.
I truly hate feeling like I am not offering at least constructive criticism, and not just something that reads like a snarky attack, so here it is: Joe Swanberg, you are talented and have potential to make great films, if you just use real actors instead of your friends. We will all thank you in the end. And that will let Adam and Simon get back to what they do best, which is behind the camera. Not recommended.
- Leo Francis