‘Light Travel’ review: Stuck in close quarters, avoid boredom

Shot during the pandemic and identified May 30, 2020 – a few days after George Floyd died during his arrest by the Minneapolis Police Department – “Travel Light” is an experimental attempt at social commentary that fails to offer any insight, emotion, or even entertainment of the kind basic. Nearly a year after the premiere of the genre-focused ‘Beyond Fest’ ‘Candyman’ in Los Angeles, this COVID era mega movie from eclectic director Bernard Rose (who made the original ‘Candyman’) opens today in New York and Seattle, with other cities to follow.

Rose seems to have been aiming to get excited about the “hidden magic of the bourgeoisie,” focusing on a gathering in the Hollywood Hills of followers of a self-proclaimed teacher/prophet (Danny Houston), where everyone drinks a dish filled with an unnamed hallucinogen and eventually dances a line while chanting “Here Hare.” ‘, although there is not a single Hare Krishna in sight.

But whatever Rose’s intention, what he gets is akin to a community college class where students only take out a required elective. Instead of descending into near hell, the kind Gaspard Noé achieved with the song “Climax,” Rose allows his actors to babble unwritten nonsense (“My melody is a heavenly melody!”) while an Uber driver (Tony Todd, hiding behind a mask and sunglasses for most of the movie) He wanders around Los Angeles, picking up passengers and keeping an eye on his son, who has gone missing and is presumed to be living in a homeless camp.

Aside from Todd, the driver who acts as a liaison between the other characters by giving each of them a ride, the film’s biggest role is Harry, played by Huston (Rose’s frequent collaborator) as an unbearably tough guy who makes statements like “It’s like the Earth needs it.” To breathe!” About the epidemic, he tends to suddenly shout “Let’s celebrate! Let’s scream!” And he loves to ring the bell just because it’s there.

Improvisation isn’t Heston’s strong suit, nor does it appear to be a force for any of the supporting cast, including Stephen Dorff and Olivia Dabo as Harry’s disciples, and Matthew Jacobs as a man documenting violations of the mask’s mandate on his cell. phone, with a view to handing them over to the police.

Even the background of the looming George Floyd riots has no bearing on the story, except for a glimpse of news coverage on TV and some footage from the burning rubble the next morning. Whatever comment the movie tries to make about present-day America, it gets lost in boredom.

Rose’s work as a director has ranged from the great (“Paperhouse,” “Candyman,” and “Immortal Beloved”) to the impending (“Frankenstein,” “Mr. Nice,” and “Ivans xtc.”) to outright disaster (“Anna Karenina,” Boxing Day”, “The Devil’s Violinist”). It’s unfair to put “Travel Light” in the last category: the movie was made as a low-budget creative exercise and should be viewed that way. However, even the most well-meaning scholars sometimes know When is it time to pull the plug on a failed experiment?

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