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Sundance 2023 Day 7 Recap

Day 7 is a wrap for Sundance as we get closer and closer to the end of the festival. Yesterday I watched four films, but as I fell asleep during Divinity, I'll only be reviewing three: Rye Lane, Landscape with Invisible Hand, and The Accidental Getaway Driver.


RYE LANE

A chance encounter leads to an unforgettable day between Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah) in Rye Lane. Still heartbroken over the end of his six-year relationship, Dom unexpectedly meets the vivacious and carefree Yas who helps him see there's life after breakups.


Rye Lane is a special rom-com in the vein of the Before films and (500) Days of Summer with an added British flair. It's sweet and unconventional. Simple, yet distinctive. I really enjoyed it, but do wish it had a few more tender moments of romance to really push it to the levels of the greats that it aspires to be. I also wish we could have seen the two characters connecting on more than just their pasts, but on an intellectual level as well. Still, Rye Lane's intentions mostly make up for what it lacks. The leads here are great and I love the journey we're taken on with them. It all feels like a natural progression of a day, despite so much happening. Rye Lane is a winsome romantic comedy as we see two people really connect and move past their pasts.


RATING: 8/10



LANDSCAPE WITH INVISIBLE HAND

Landscape with Invisible Hand portrays a future where aliens not only have made contact with earth but now control the spread of information and the economy. When teenage Adam (Asante Blackk) strikes up a friendship with his homeless classmate Chloe (Kylie Rogers), Adam invites Chloe and her family to stay in his house until they get back on their feet. Feeling the need to contribute to the household, Chloe comes up with the idea for her and Adam to receive credits from the aliens. The only catch is, they must broadcast their growing relationship for the aliens to watch since they're fascinated with witnessing human relationships.


Landscape with Invisible Hand has some interesting ideas and commentary but bites off way more than it can chew. I was interested in exploring Adam and Chloe's relationship through the lens of an alien race watching and feeling the pressure to perform, but the film apparently had loftier ideas it felt the need to explore. As such, the film constantly feels like it's quickly moving from greener pasture to greener pasture completely going off the rails in the process. At some point, it went from somewhat intriguing to actively awful.


RATING: 4.5/10


THE ACCIDENTAL GETAWAY DRIVER

Late one night, an elderly cab driver named Long (Hiep Tran Nghia) takes a call that will change his life. He goes to pick up three men, who unbeknownst to him have just escaped prison. He's taken hostage and ordered to drive them wherever they need to go. His life hangs in the balance as he's fully aware he knows too much but senses that perhaps a bond with one of his captors might help his chances of survival.


There are not a lot of surprises to be found in The Accidental Getaway Driver, and things unfold about how you'd expect. But the reason this is one of the more solid films I've seen in the last few days is due to the performances of the leads and the intimate scenes they share in baring their souls. This is no Ambulance, where the film is nothing but action-filled tension, but rather a discreet drama thriller. The pressure here comes with Long's quiet strength in avoiding the landmines of these three unstable men. What keeps the film from greatness is once again the length. The pacing gets away from itself, particularly in undercutting the ending to conclude on a more subdued note as opposed to a really impactful one.


RATING: 7/10

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