Bikini Inception Indie Film Review

★★

Directed by: #JohnSjogren

Written by: #JohnSjogren

Starring: #MichaelMadsen, #AnaFlaviaGavlak, #MicheleGhersi

Film Review by: Oliver Smither



The plot follows the dream of two Arctic lab janitors who, after performing unauthorised experiments, are transported to their dreamworld where they are indie filmmakers living on a beach in Malibu. The idea is simplistic and has obvious misogynistic overtones, but it is at least able to acknowledge its own exploitative nature; the fact that the majority of Malibu based indie films turn out to be rather bad pictures. This particular movie develops into a sort of self-criticism, ironically referencing ‘Laurence Olivier type stuff’ whilst knowing that it is not that sort of film. It is in fact an ironic look at some of the uninspired, artistically lacking films that are and have been shot in Malibu. This satirical aspect improves it beyond being unwatchable, but it is still not a film to be sought after.

With limited and to a point, uninspired writing, the script is questionable. However, it does seem to fulfil the ‘inception’ aspect of the picture, with two indie films being made within this one, providing an inside look into the making of this genre of film. A film parodying itself, the concept of this type of beach/bikini film being ever-present in the sub-Hollywood world of West Coast cinema is mimicked through the dream plot. Through this, one can see the satirical approach that Sjogren is possibly aiming for.

The performance by Michele Ghersi is limited by the script he is working with, yet, there are acceptable moments which demonstrate his potential as an actor. Ana Flavia Gavlak has the most refreshing character in this film, Frida, who notes the exploitative nature of these Malibu indie films incredibly early on and remains unimpressed by the actions of these ‘filmmakers’ throughout. However, her expressive and observational nature, along with Ghersi’s performance, is not enough to overcome both the fragmented plot and disorganised script.

The direction, like the script, is problematic at best. John Sjogren presents us with a troublesome and flawed picture that has one questioning its purpose. Whilst the editing has applaudable moments there are many laughable ones as well. For instance, the underwater scenes are cut together well, however, the beach fight scene is hard to believe at best.

The score is probably the only fully consistent aspect of Bikini Inception. It conjures images of a world full of bikini clad women along the beaches of Malibu, almost summoning memories of classic 80s cop shows; the sort of a soundtrack that is made for beach scenes. This soundtrack effectively evokes the possible dreams of two isolated and lonely janitors, therefore creating a sort of realism to the dream-state they find themselves in.

From one perspective this film can be seen to demonstrate the ‘idealistic’ idea of the American dream. To venture to America and enter the world of film and ‘catch a big break’ will, for the majority, true to its name, remain a dream. In most cases this fantasy actually results in a severely underwhelming outcome. Bikini Inception is an example of just that; an inception-esque exploration of the ill-favoured underbelly of the world of film and the trash that is churned out. Despite Gavlak’s character changing her mind, I remained convinced that this film demonstrates the sexist nature present in Californian films.

All in all, this is not a journey many will want to take again, but if you go into it with an open mind and are willing to accept it as a form of self-mockery, you may find some enjoyment here.