Its hard to quite know where to place TYGER, TYGER. Is it a jaded, modernist love story about fractured youth? Is it a post Covid tale of pandemic and personality? Or is it a rebellion picture about the simmering anger of a future without opportunity? KERRY MONDRAGON films is a variable feast of expressions and expectations. Critically however it has fared badly. Lacking this or being to ‘in’ crowd casted for some. The story is a paper thin one in truth. We follow Blake (Sam Quartin), she enters the frame like a bandit and then sets about robbing a pharmacy. Odd choice of place for a robbery, you might think but wait. This is the near future, where a drug company has pills to save people from a crippling, deadly virus. Blake is setting out to steal the pills and give them to the poor. While doing the robbery, she bumps into a drug addict called Luke (Dylan Sprouse), who is in there for his meds. After delivering her pills, she sees Luke again and this time, with her friend Bobby ( Nekhebet Kum Juch), a silent, Anarchist cookbook reading, kidnap loving sidekick, they kidnap him and are story leads us into the night. Luke needs to get some drugs, he also needs to resolve a deeper issue with owing money to someone else.¬†Along the way Blake ditches her insolent boyfriend (Max Madsen) to distribute the stolen lifesaving medication in the fringe lands and save Luke.

TYGER TYGER is branded as a western, romance, drama on IMDB. I wondered about its placing, as the film flirts a lot with the mode of cinema and Kerry Mondragon merges and mixes genre by infuses spaces (desert), inferring sexual attraction (The leads) and the plot pivot point (The virus and drugs). This doesn’t benefit the film completely, as you feel it never quite gets its register right. When it is in its flow (second act) it holds up well enough though. With nods and notes to art, literature and the screen. Where the critics seem less impressed is in the casting. This felt as if the intention (clear enough from my chair) is to build a cult type meditation on films like TWO LANE BLACKTOP. The bright young things leading us along deserve at least a passing nod of respect. They drawn down their registers. Quartin for instance is patient and balances out the more experienced performances, creating a side by side playing into the undertones of age and rebellion. I might not totally have bought into it but it is plain to see that the director did.

In the end however, TYGER TYGER pulls off a better film than we expect. Its a love story with notes of great modern films like BADLANDS (though not as good or as graceful). It also feels a lot like the work of Roeg influences the editing and the characterisations (again not as good or well constructed). I would deride those who pillared this film. It deserved more and got less sadly.

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