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  Nasty Baby Hipster Horrors
Year: 2015
Director: Sebastián Silva
Stars: Sebastián Silva, Kristen Wiig, Tunde Adebimpe, Reg E. Cathey, Mark Margolis, Agustín Silva, Alia Shawkat, Lillias White, Anthony Chisolm, Marsha Stephanie Blake, William Oliver Watkins, Constance Shulman, Neal Huff, Jesse Thurston, Catrina Ganey
Genre: Comedy, Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Freddy (Sebastían Silva) is a performance artist based in Brooklyn, concentrating on the more controversial side of the modern art business, and his latest idea is to have him and his friends act out a video installation he names Nasty Baby, where they are filmed on his video camera behaving like infants. He hopes it will be confrontational, and asks a gallery representative around to interview him with plans to put on the show at his establishment; it appears to go well, so now it is just a matter of putting the videos together. Something else Freddy is trying to put together is his personal life, as he is attempting to get his best friend Polly (Kristen Wiig) pregnant so that he and his boyfriend Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) can be parents...

So you get the idea, we were deeply entrenched in hipster territory, which on this evidence producer/director/writer/star Silva was concerned was what he had become. Nasty Baby came across as one man wondering what he had done with his life, and what value being a fashionable, if decidedly non-mainstream, filmmaker had brought him to, and whether it was all worth it in the face of genuine issues such as prejudice, mental illness and potentially the taking of another's life should things get very serious indeed. Could your average hipster possibly cope with that, or would they crumble when their deeply felt sense of their own civilised behaviour was so comprehensively challenged?

It was true to say this took quite the plot turn in its final half hour, but before that there was a wry examination of the sort of up to the minute trendsetter you would find in those modern art galleries either stroking their chins at the exhibits or actually selling their own exhibits to those who had the money to pay for, some would say waste on, them. They were not all flying in the face of convention to become a family with one mother and two fathers to one baby, though that's the way it may seem to those not in much contact with what to most would be an alien landscape, and Silva placed their lifestyle choices right in the audience's faces, as if to confront even the tiniest vestige of discomfort that they were too unconventional for their own good.

And won't somebody think of the resulting child?! If you were able to pull yourself together you might find there was a rather more satirical aspect to this than might emerge on the surface, though eventually that would be replaced with a far darker countenance as a major problem arises for the trio. It wasn't the trip to see Mo's folks, who are not entirely behind his life "decisions", nor was it the fact that Freddy's sperm count was very weak and therefore he was going to have a lot of trouble conceiving any children, with Polly or any other woman, it was the old geezer they named The Bishop (Reg E. Cathey), a mentally damaged individual who makes a nuisance of himself around and about the area outside their apartment. Stuff like guiding cars to park that don't need his hand signals, or using a leaf blower in the early hours that wakes Freddy up every morning.

Yet also more sinister business such as throwing bigoted insults at the gay couple when he encounters them in the street, following them and others, and on one occasion trying to put his arms around Polly to "help" her, though what he thinks he doing to help is purely in his own mind. This man, the hipsters believe, is a menace, but a cop tells them she cannot arrest him because he would simply be out again in a couple of days on account of not being in control of his actions, and besides he will apparently be leaving the district soon so will be out of their hair for good. There were hints, as ever with Silva, that we were intended to find parts of this absurdly funny, but there was plenty so offputting about the events as they played out that even scenes like the gallery owner consulting an oracle's shrine to give Freddy an answer on whether he should carry his show or not were merely blankly amusing as the artist found himself out-weirded. Therefore imagine how the film feels when it takes on its big twist: confrontational, that's how, and you either got on with that or you did not. Either way, it was bracing. Music by Danny Bensi and Saunder Juriaans.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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