Quiet City follows 24 hours in the life of Jamie and Charlie, two strangers who meet at a New York subway station. She is supposed to meet a friend, who doesn't show. He is a directionless slacker who's been hibernating since his last girlfriend moved states. With nothing but time and nothing to do the pair bond through a series of events culminating in an art gallery after party.
Unlike Dance Party, USA you are not treated to any attempts at emotional growth from these floundering post-teens, Quiet City is more subtle than that. It is however another movie about finding connections with other human beings. Across the awkward 24 hours these two go from being total strangers to perhaps realising that they have found a kindred spirit.
This is nothing new but Katz and his two main actors (both given writing credits presumably for the amount of improvised dialogue contributed) provide no declarations of love, affection, lust or grand set pieces to hang the story arc from, instead we are treated to minute upon minute of "like" and "um" shoved in to every inelegant sentence developing in to much more coherent speech patterns later on as their comfort with each other and themselves increases. The people they meet throughout the day only serve to highlight how important finding the right human connection is and how suited these two actually are for each other.
Alan and his Great Movie Project pointed out in the Dance Party, USA review if you have any mid-range hearing issues this type of movie is not for you unless you want to switch on subtitles, as quite regularly the actors cover their mouths with hands whilst they're talking and conversations are nearly drowned out by passing cars etc. I have no doubt that this is an acquired taste in movie aesthetics but in my mind it is a better way to add some realism to a movie than shaky cameras. It gives you that fun eavesdropping feeling you get when you're listening to other customers in shops or "private" conversations on public transport.
Once more the visual aspect of a Katz movie is strong, he used a different director of photography this time but still captured some wonderful shots throughout. A lot of almost still images of natural and man made beauty litter the movie, highlighting the everyday nature/beauty of what we were witnessing between Jamie and Charlie.
There's a moment of such complete truthfulness at the party, as an old friend of Jamie's has (what feels like) a long monologue about her inability to connect with guys in which she says the word "like" as almost every other word and a few times I swear she says "it was like like I like um." It's a painful to watch moment that caused us to laugh at her throughout but it is a perfect portrayal of the inadequacies felt by this generation as they try to create meaning in/of their lives.
Initially I wasn't as impressed as I was with Dance Party but it's stuck in my mind for days now, I keep thinking about it and wanting to watch it again, which can only be a good thing. Again it's not a film that can appeal to a wide audience but I still think you should see it. It's only 70 minutes afterall. And if that's not enough Nicholas at Cinema Romantico recently touched on how Aaron Katz makes poetic cinema with his review of Quiet City that compared him to none other than cinematic recluse Terrence Malick.
Has anyone seen this one? Have I managed to talk any of you in to exploring mumblecore? Next up is Cold Weather which should tie in nicely with our noir-a-thon too. Leave some blah below.