Mikey and Nicky

Mikey and Nicky ★★★★★

the logical intersection/ volley between Cassavetes' project—"it's so difficult for humans to actually communicate with each other"—and May's—"actually, it's so difficult to not communicate with each other." at the heart of both of those formulations is a deep joy at the prospect of humans colliding. at the heart of both formulations is a complete abstaining for living ironically. I think there were other concurrent voices attuned to these kinds of proposals (Altman's bleeding overlaps, Pakula's systems, maybe Lumet's neighborhood), but so much of '70s New Hollywood seems all-too-willing to write humanity with at best venom and worst denial. when did the aesthetic of remove become an actual philosophy of cruelty? when did we stop thinking we could like each other? the love in Mikey and Nicky leaps and then it leaks; the film isn't tragic simply because it never has to end a certain way. it is not a tractor beam. it's a dance; the motion leads to other motions. the language exists for us to survive, for us to save our friends, so long as we remain attuned. Mikey and Nicky aches us because it's the story of two men who have forgotten how to talk to each other, but they're also not resigned to silence. it's essentially makes parable of what May atomizes and illuminates elsewhere in her work: we can only be rehabilitated in love, and by each other. and any adherence to systems outside of that lead to plastic tragedy, full of suffering and feeling no catharsis. the worst art signifies nothing, not as in "means nothing" but believes the absence of life might be preferable to the messy grappling with it. the best grapples with grappling. it ands us together.

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