Frownland

Frownland ★★★★★

Frownland is more than just the most nerve wracking study of social anxiety ever committed to celluloid, it's nothing less than a massively disorienting schizophrenic shriek from the bowels of some powerfully dissonant, fobiddingly bleary and inescabably banal hellscape of the mind. Packaged in the guise of another New York story about a deeply troubled, underemployed loser, it's also a structurally innovative and insidious descent into madness that, while consistently jarring, is far too immersive to call attention to it's formidable narrative ruptures and deliberately unsettling quirks. Dore Mann's manic, stuttering performance as the lead is both a feature length nervous breakdown and a work of fearsome authenticity that dares you to look away while composer Paul Grimstad, who plays his irritable and irritating roommate as a more familiar variation on defeated adulthood, layers the scorched images between sinsiter sci-fi synth noodlings and grating noise. Frownland's sun finally rises before the credits roll as if it's a grimy, hungover, kaleidoscopic carnival ride that offers one the privilege of jumping off between perpetual song length cycles. Most viewers will find that one exceedingly uncomfortable round trip spin is more than enough but if you like fiercely idiosyncratic independent cinema and uncompromising character studies this might be your new favorite jam.

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