Film: The Sweet East

 

 

Don’t look for any hidden depths if you go to see The Sweet East.

Just go along for the ride as you follow the beautiful Talia Ryder through a crazy assortment of adventures as she plays a charming but manipulative teenager on the road to New York.

Lillian is a high school student from South Carolina who escapes from her class tour to Washington DC and manages to get by with no phone, no money, no change of clothes and no apparent purpose.

 

 

The film is the work of cinematographer Sean Price Williams, his first as a director, and he and scriptwriter Nick Pinkerton use Lillian’s meandering journey to take a satirical look at the modern world of activism and terrorism.

Talia Ryder is brilliant at the chameleon Lillian, who shamelessly uses the men who keep coming to her rescue and then dumps them to move on to the next adventure.

We meet political activist Caleb (Earl Cave), who takes her along to a protest, only to find that he and his friends have the wrong location.

There she meets Lawrence (Simon Rex), a university professor and Nazi sympathiser, who takes her home, wraps her in an eiderdown embroidered with swastikas and watches only silent movies.

 

 

She persuades him to take her to New York, where she abandons him at the first opportunity.

In the street she encounters an irresistable pair of film-makers (Ayo Edebiri and Jeremy O. Harris), who audition her for a starring role.

The film shoot is disrupted by a gang of armed skinheads who open fire on all and sundry. Lillian, of course, is rescued, and ends up in an Islamic community.

It’s all a bit like an Alice In Wonderland fairytale – often confusing, sometimes amusing, with beautiful cinematography.

The Sweet East opens on Thursday, May 16, at Luna Leederville.

Watch the trailer…

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