Simple Men

Simple Men

"Ned, there is no such thing as adventure. There's no such thing as romance. There's only trouble and desire."

Kind of like if Jim Jarmusch directed an episode of Twin Peaks, with an added tinge of Buñuelian absurdism.
Hartley and his actors completely commit to the film's utterly odd tone; there's a very distinct rhythm to every snippet of dialogue here, as if these strange characters exist in a world consisting entirely of outdated tropes and cinematic cliches. It's also extremely funny, every scene exuding a sense of humour which is both ridiculously dry and uniquely off-beat. Underpinning all this though is a subtly subversive exploration of the 'American dream'; it's a tried and true theme, but by amping up the artifice to the point of abstraction, it feels as if Hartley is not only grappling with the 'dream' itself, but with cinema's collective reverence for it. The ending seems to suggest that in order to break free from this falsified ideal, one must do away with their outdated notions of manhood, and forge a new path.
Also includes what has to be one of the most effortlessly cool musical sequences I've ever seen.

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