Traditionally, the narrative selections of the Tribeca Film Festival tend to not quite meet the high standards of their non-fiction counterparts. And true to form, there were more than a couple misfires in the fictional realm this year, films that felt like they made the slate less for the quality of the work than the star power of their casts. But this year’s slate also included a fair share of engrossing stories from promising new talents, and a handful of established names taking welcome risks.
WORST OF THE FEST
It’s bad enough to lift the title of one of the best of all film noir for what is essentially a ’90s straight-to-video thriller, but writer/director Christopher Smith even drops in a scene where a character is watching that 1945 classic, which serves only to underscore how badly we’d rather watch that film than this one. Smith is a decent stylist, but his visual tricks don’t much matter at the service of a script this inane. His big gimmick is a split-story construction, in which following (I think?) two simultaneous threads hinging on a single decision; a neo-noir Sliding Doors, in other words. It’s efficient – he can tell two reheated chestnuts at once – but doesn’t add up to anything. Tye Sheridan, Bel Powley, and Emory Cohen (great in Mud, Diary of a Teenage Girl, and Brooklyn, respectively) are all fine actors, but they’re both wasted and miscast here; there’s not enough wear on their fresh faces, so the movie plays like some kind of noir Bugsy Malone, except nobody’s in on the gag.