Friday, March 28, 2014
Review: LIMO RIDE (2014 Atlanta Film Festival)
We all have stories from our youth--wild stories of fun-havin', trouble-makin', sex-rompin' near-death experiences that inspire ranting and raving sessions of storytelling for years afterwards. And, inevitably, when telling these tales of our lives, we think "You know, this would make a great movie." Yet, often, these films never get beyond the storytelling phase. But filmmakers Gideon C. Kennedy and Marcus Rosentrater have given energetic and unnerving vision to a hilariously stressful tale from ten Alabama friends, all of whom excitedly recount their most raucous night in the new documentary Limo Ride.
After a stunning credits sequence (seriously, one of the best I've ever seen for an indie film), Kennedy and Rosentrater throw us head first into this ridonkulously entertaining tour of debauchery. Throughout, the film's soundtrack is commandeered by the real life participants, all of whom vie for mic time while telling their side of the story, which begins with them all "recovering" from your typically over-the-top, liquor-fueled New Year's Eve. The filmmakers rely almost solely on recreations to provide the images for the movie (making it seem sort of like a southern-fried Errol Morris epic, though there are no soul-searching talking heads here--the participants only make appearances on-screen at the very end). This nutty and frankly sort of scary band of friends--ready to fight with each other and anyone else at a moment's notice--decide to ignore their need for sleep and instead contract a stretch limo to take them around Mobile, Alabama, while they snort, drink and smoke up everything they can get their hands on. First stop is a beach-side event called Flora-Bama, where legions of crazy people brave the freezing gulf waters in a polar-bear-like show of cheek (and I mean "cheek" literally, since two of our participants here end up completely nude, leading to some big laughs with a curious photographer who's a little too enthusiastic about taking candid snaps of these guys).
From here, it's on to some contentious karaoke and a violent run-in with some skeevy jerks at The Keg, a top Mobile dive bar. Thus truly begins the most amazing downward spiral ever, a drunken descent into a freezing hell of a night, with a sketchy limo driver and his possibly crack-addled cohort leading these ten friends (and one girlfriend) into a no-man's-land where they each start to wonder whether they're gonna survive all this so-called fun. Limo Ride is vibrantly shot by Jeanne Tyson and edited with tremendous care by Rosentrater (I tell ya, this movie speeds right by, so much so that it leaves you wanting so much more time with these dudes). An experimental documentary if there ever was one, Limo Ride is a real hoot, and one of the best movies I've seen at this year's Atlanta Film Festival. LIMO RIDE has its world premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival on Sunday, March 30 at 6:30 pm at the 7 Stages Theater in Little Five Points.