Rainer Werner Fassbinder presented his early stage dramas with a company called the Anti-Theater; similarly, this provocative indie feature might be described as an anti-film. The characters—a circle of overprivileged, nihilistic New York hipsters in their mid-30s—are deliberately unlikable, and there's no recognizable narrative structure that might explain their ugly behavior. Instead director Rick Alverson presents their heedless lives as case studies in first-world arrogance and cultural insensitivity. The dialogue consists mainly of would-be ironic insults and vulgarities; the "comedy" is that there's nothing funny about them. In a bold move, Alverson has filled the cast with the sort of counterculture heros his characters would likely admire: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), stand-up comic Neil Hamburger (billed here under his real name, Gregg Turkington), and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.
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