When the mother of his infant son boots him out of her life, Jim wants to go where no one knows his name. So he seeks refuge in the torrent of bodies clogging midtown Manhattan, where he’s safe to unload his bottomless cynicism on that most wretched of creatures, the American Tourist.
Cutting an Ignatius Reilly-esque figure with his flat cap and soup-strainer mustache, our dirtbag flâneur sprays his machinegun inner monologue, opening up not bullet holes but nihilistic chasms: in Time Square’s sugary retail attractions, the 9/11 Memorial’s disaster tourism, even the solemn God of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Operating in a visual style that sits where hidden-camera prank meets hellish travelogue, The Tourist partakes of Manhattan’s squeaky-clean present moment as it joins the century-long trail of personal crises shot on its streets. In between is a farewell, if not a fond one, to a certain type of New York lowlife. 27 minutes. A short film by Jake Remington. Starring Joe Sonnenblick.
This week, we’re also presenting a feature film by The Tourist’s director and featuring its star (Jake Remington and Joe Sonnenblick respectively). Billing itself as an “anti-budget recession rom-com,” Rat Pack cunningly disguises its humble means with a prodigious nervous energy. Twitching back and forth through time, we spy on the rise and fall and rise and maybe fall again of Joe and Nicole and Teo and Marissa, two interlocking couples on the outskirts of Millennial Brooklyn. Behind the restless flow of scenes (complete with titles marking off the remaining minutes) is a growing undertow of grief, painting a decidedly un-rosy portrait of youth.