Directed by: Alexander Cooper
#Mockumentaries have enjoyed a lot of success in the past. They open up a whole new comedic toolkit that's usually unique to the genre; because they have one foot in reality the actors can use genuine sincerity, the #filmmakers can use irony and the audience gets to sit above it and just enjoy everything. But what makes them stand out is, like any good documentary, they have a story and one that connects with its audience and draws them in. This Is Spinal Tap is one of the most quoted comedy films of all time but, despite the gags, it has a solid through-line of story and believable characters. WeirdLoop is a #mockumentary directed by Alexander Cooper, but Spinal Tap This Is Not.
There is no story to WeirdLoop. There are, however, some ideas discussed. The film opens with a number of pedestrians in central London being stopped and asked to comment on the fact that their lives, and the rest of the world, is stuck in some kind of loop. They talk about how they find themselves doing the same things almost every day; that, while time passes, nothing much changes in their day-to-day life. The first half an hour of the film is a series of these interviews with the mockumentary's hosts, Vladimir (Cooper) and Alina (Tapson), asking each person the same question and getting pretty much exactly the same answer. At this point, you start to get irritated. The entire movie is filmed on what looks and sounds like an iPhone.
You can put up with the changing sound quality, the noise of tubes and road works playing over the guerrilla style footage, but the film's total lack of direction is a bit much to put up with.
Vladimir's concept of the weird loop is essentially the malaise contemporary society feels following the election of Donald Trump, Brexit and the spread of fake news. The world seems to be simultaneously falling apart and carrying on and the effect is a little confusing. This is something we can understand and empathise with, but Cooper decides to frame this in the story an ex-KGB agent (himself) and his friend walking around London spotting "connections", hidden messages and elaborating on conspiracy theories. This involves the pair looking in shop windows and insinuating that it is a Russian prostitute ring set up by Vladimir Putin for Trump's benefit (because he spends a lot of his time in London, obviously), or finding a hairdresser's named Blow and claiming that it is actually super secret code for a Russian cocaine ring. David Lynch is the master of mystery and conspiracy, brilliantly leading his audience down one path only to completely surprise them when they get to the end. WeirdLoop's approach to conspiracy theory is a monumental step backward in age and intelligence; the film looks and feels like two 13-year-olds who've just discovered innuendos and think they're the funniest things in the world.
Any satire or genuine comment on contemporary society is lost as Vladimir and Alina reputedly burst into giggles and try to keep a straight face as they walk passed lingerie shops, or point out phallic looking graffiti. There is one idea in this film and it is explained in the first ten minutes via the interviews, the film then runs for a further two hours.
When it is finished we have learned nothing except that WeirdLoop is in desperate need of an editor and writer, and probably a director too.