Directed by: #QuincyRose
Written by: Quincy Rose
You’ve heard of the meet cute, well welcome to the split sad.
Quincy Rose’s contemplative indie comedy The Narcissists is an exploration of love, sex, and relationships that feels four parts therapy to one part walking tour of NYC.
Rose plays Oliver, an olympic overthinker whose girlfriend Cassi (Jessica DiGiovanni) and he are at somewhat of an impasse. The lease is up on their apartment and they need to decide whether to commit to more years, both on their abode and their relationship. To make matters more complex, Cassi has recently admitted to fooling around with an old flame. Oliver takes to the streets with his sexually charged BFF Max (Zachary Tiegen), whose provocative and at times wildly inappropriate advice borders on the insane, whilst Cassi does the same with her friend Letty (Augie Duke) whose viewpoint on relationships is approaching anarchic.
It’s been almost three years since I reviewed Quincy Rose’s indie film Miles To Go and looking back at that movie review I actually used the word “narcissism”. It was done in a positive way, in that Rose managed to sidestep that by allowing other characters room to contribute meaningfully to the piece. In The Narcissists, Rose is being deliberately and spectacularly narcissistic in order to make valid cultural commentary, again with himself in the lead role. He even takes this a step further by applying meta techniques to self reference himself and his filmmaking in a quasi-documentary/mockumentary kind of manner. The result is a slightly confusing but always compelling introspective romantic drama that is as thought-provoking as it is indulgent.
Cinematically, there is a beautiful artistic simplicity to The Narcissists that bucks the trend and makes audiences sit fucking still for a change. Long, static sequences of characters out in the daytime on the streets of New York City are the only offering. The cut doesn’t happen until the characters have finished their full exchange and there are no intimate close ups or choppy editing to keep the eye distracted from the dialogue. Short-attention-spanned audiences of 2019 are unlikely to have experienced a viewing experience quite like this. Just like my earlier review, a tip of the hat must be given to Woody Allen. The film screams Manhattan and Rose knows the cinematic heritage perfectly well. What Rose does with his material and the picturesque city is still totally unique and hugely worthwhile.
The script is strong and there are some potent topics which arise during the plethora of heart-to-hearts going on between the pairs of friends. Some of the dialogue starts to feel shocking for the sake of being shocking (and this is even self referenced) and attitudes feel amplified in order to create elaborate contrast between Oliver and Cassi’s dilemma and the “wayward” antics of Max and Letty. For the most part this is fine, it just gets a bit repetitive as the movie goes along and the final third was somewhat of a let down in terms of satisfying resolutions. What audiences do receive, however, is a film for our times, one that aesthetically challenges us to become the actual fly-on-the-wall and listen to the personal drama that is currently all around us being drowned out by noise and distraction. The human issues feel enduring yet the delivery is remarkably nuanced and original.
Watch the movie trailer for The Narcissists below.
The film is available to watch worldwide from August 27th 2019 and on iTunes in the UK.