By Roger Costa
New Yorker actor Andre Royo (TV’s “The Wire” and “Agent Carter”) is a comedic hurricane as Ashley, a 40-something-years-old man just released from prison trying hard to reconnect with the past, and to find hope for the future. His amazingly irreverent characterization of a lonesome crook avoiding trouble, earned him ravings and the prestigious Best Actor Special Jury Award at this year’s SXSW Festival. Ashley is living under his aunt’s roof with no perspectives whatsoever, at least until he settles his ghosts from the past.
The first step is trying to get his girl back, and he’s aware he needs to cause a better impression. He randomly meets Jeremy (George Sample III), an eccentric dude involved in a suspicious medical experiment, who also pulls off strategies with some equipment he designed. One of these magnetized machines is able to rescue a lost treasure buried in aunt’s backyard which produces on Ashley a nostalgic travel back in time to the essentials of his manhood. A nervously hilarious friendship ensues as both will somehow help each other getting things the right way. Jeremy is mostly focused on caring for a relative who’s ill, struggling to provide for the treatment.
Ashley is concerned about his future, but he’s certainly more interested in getting his groove back, proving his own masculinity, as he insists to win the girl’s heart back, and has an amazing talent of convincing people in order to accomplish his goals. He persuades Jeremy to help him gathering freezers, against his aunt’s permission, the first evidence of his increasing dysfunctional attempts of success.
Behind this unstoppable series of weirdly funny troubled situations promoted by the pair and the ironic characters they meet along the way (including the grumpy guardian at the disposable site and the hungry fat girl Ashley begs for love in bed), there’s also a very unique sensibility, coming from the perception of newcomer director Joshua Locy. A regular collaborator of David Gordon Green, first time writer-director Locy explores Ashley’s journey with a fresh and offbeat enthusiasm, a hilarious approach to the subjects of loneliness and insecurity, resulting in a flawless directorial debut.
A phenomenal feel good experience on the buddy movie type, “Hunter Gatherer” scores high in every issue with total engagement, provoking a load of laughs while analyzing how to overcome the tremors of growing old.
HUNTER GATHERER (A The Orchard Release. Opens Friday, November, 18th in NYC.)