Directed by: #AndrewPochan
Written by: #SueLange
Dust Nuggets Movie Review
When we first meet band manager KK Colson (Sage), she is being wheeled unconscious into an ambulance after an incident at a hotel swimming pool. Now lying in a coma trapped somewhere between life and the light at the end of the tunnel, we enter the surreal projections of her subconscious as she begins to relive a version of events that not only chart the unlikely rise to fame of the Dust Nuggets (the band she represents) but also the tragic choices that have led to her current dire situation. However, an underlying guilt is preventing KK’s brain from telling us and herself the real story and unless she decides to accept the truth of what really happened, she might never wake up.
There are no two ways about it, Dust Nuggets is a bit of a mindfuck and a film that asks for a bit of faith and patience from its audience in the beginning, but what might initially feel like utter confusion eventually gives way to an incredibly smart, ambitious and truly unique tale off guilt, envy, ambition, purgatory and self-acceptance.
Its first half-hour or so might be the biggest struggle for some. After its dramatic start, we suddenly descend into a musical number about GHB aboard a private jet, before inexplicably teleporting to a throwback tale of youthful whimsy and jealousy that could have been plucked straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. Though this charming episode of the film gives us a great deal of insight into the envious relationship KK has with her fiercely talented friend Joanie (Fallyn Smith), those expecting a deep cerebral thriller might be raising a few eyebrows.
But it's not long until the film gets the Twin Peaks treatment in both look and feel. As the Lynchian screw starts to turn and KK’s two realities begin to bleed into each other more and more, suddenly you find your eureka moment where everything that came before makes so much sense and you can’t help but appreciate what has all along been a brilliant marriage of intelligent writing and sophisticated eye for visual storytelling.
Intelligent is not simply a superlative lightly thrown around here either. If one was so inclined towards multiple viewings, they would no doubt found a plethora of hidden details each time, not just in its dialogue but splashed all around the set-pieces and backgrounds. Details that are full of subtle foreshadowing, recurring themes and consistent wordings that become increasingly significant in their meaning every time they wriggle in your ear, you soon begin to realise that Lange and Pochan have been giving you clues all along.
Not everything manages to connect to the bigger narrative though, there are moments that feel too far apart from the rest of the brilliance here and because you get into the habit of looking for those connections, they become more obvious. As for the cast, Sage’s decent performance manages to find a good balance between the comical and the dramatic and she can turn up the emotion when needed, but although admittedly this is her story, there are few others that really stand out other than being loud and some actually perhaps seem to lean too far towards the fantastical and could do with pulling it back somewhat.
With Dust Nuggets, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle where only Lange and Pochan know what the picture is on the box and are slowly feeding us pieces at a time so we can slowly put it all together until we too can appreciate their finished article for the great piece of work that it is.