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BY REV. JEN MILLER | Disclaimer: I am a screenwriter, an underground movie star and a filmmaker. Yet I am not a fan of film festivals, since they charge entrance fees that anyone who is actually underground can’t afford. This is why, two years ago, I founded “Assdance Film Festival” along with filmmaker Courtney Fathom Sell and actor Robert Prichard. Assdance had no entrance fees and the only requirement to get in was that your film had to have been rejected by another film festival. It was a huge success.
That said, I give anything a chance — especially when shit’s free. I am also, in no way, a film critic. I am actually currently lying in my sweaty bed gazing at my film collection and noticing that it contains masterpieces such as the Mark Harmon vehicle “Summer School” and the pivotal ‛80s film, “Hardbodies.” The only movie I like that lacks sex, drugs and violence is “The Wizard of Oz” — probably because it makes me feel like I’m on drugs. (Though it could be argued the poppy field scene is ripe with drug references, the house falling on the witch is violent and there’s no sex but they make up for it with midgets.)
But when offered a chance to review a movie at the Tribeca Film Festival, I jumped at the chance, since my sparse unemployment earnings generally go to booze and scratch-off tickets, not movie tickets. My trusty editor assigned me to review a film called “Traitors,” which the press release announced was about the female leader of a fictional all-girl band that wants to make a record but can’t afford to. So the lead singer becomes a drug mule. Unfortunately, the pre-festival screening was scheduled at TEN IN THE MORNING ON A SATURDAY and I’d been up for six days on a post-break up sex and beer bender — so not only did I wake up at noon, I also didn’t realize it was Saturday. Luckily, they gave me a screener.
Written & Directed by Sean Gullette
In Arabic, English & French with subtitles
Runtime: 86 minutes
4/20, 6:30pm | 4/22, 9:45pm | 4/24, 5:30pm | 4/26, 6:30pm
At Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea
260 W. 23rd St., btw. 7th & 8th Aves.
Info: tribecafilm.com or 646-502-5296
Since my BFF, Faceboy, is also too impoverished to watch the moving picture shows, I suggested we watch “Traitors” together. The first thing we noticed about the film is that it was in a language we couldn’t recognize.
“Is that French?” Faceboy asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve been drinking.”
“I don’t like to read at the movies.”
Speaking of reading, I’d misread the press release and thought the movie was set in Tasmania. (Turns out it was actually set in Tangier, but thinking it was in Tasmania was more fun.)
“Where are the spinning Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devils f**king sh*t up?” Faceboy wanted to know.
The second thing we noticed is that all the subtitles were in WHITE.
“Why are the subtitles WHITE?,” I screamed. “I can’t afford reading glasses!”
Despite our inability to discern the dialogue, we soon began to follow the plot, in which a young singer named “Malika” turns to transporting drugs to save her mother from eviction while trying to make a record. “Traitors” is beautifully shot and well-acted, but the pace is painfully slow.
As Face noted, “My fave thing about this movie are the cigarette breaks I’m taking.”
One scene involves Malika fixing a car for four minutes, after which she pronounces, “I don’t drink and I don’t smoke” — which could explain the slow pacing. All film characters should drink and smoke, a la Dom DeLuise and Burt Reynolds landing a plane in a strip mall in order to pick up more Budweiser in “The Cannonball Run.” Drinking and smoking are great plot devices because they induce characters to make bad life decisions.
Eventually, Faceboy grew frustrated. “When is Bruce Willis gonna show up and just start shootin’ everyone?”
Sadly, Bruce never does show up. The movie could have used some bj’s, some of the aforementioned Willis, some titties and a bank robbery. When Malika gets arrested and hosed down by cops, my digits were crossed that it was about to turn into a Linda Blair/woman-in-prison-style flick — but it never does. This doesn’t mean this is not a noteworthy movie; it’s just not my cup of tea. I’m depressed enough as it is.