Verge at Sundance Film Festival: London 2018: Guide #1

Verge returns to Sundance Film Festival: London at Picturehouse Central for another year of watching, celebrating and critiquing the best of independent filmmaking. Sundance London will take place at Picturehouse Central from 31 May to 3 June, with twelve feature films from Sundance Film Festival in Park City, including the UK premiere of Jennifer Fox’s The Tale starring Laura Dern and Elizabeth Debicki. For a full line-up of feature films, short films and panel discussions, click here. Here is our first guide to the festival, focusing on three of the feature films.

Generation Wealth

A film still from Generation Wealth by Lauren Greenfield, an official selection of the Documentary Premieres program at the 2018 Sundance FIlm Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Lauren Greenfield.

Generation Wealth is a new kind of horror film- it is a terrifyingly realistic portrayal of our insatiable need for more- more money. More stuff. More achievement. More happiness, which people seek to find through working for more of everything else. Writer and director Lauren Greenfield explores the endless search for wealth and prosperity throughout the world, and how success and satisfaction have come to be defined in terms of money, body image, likes on social media, and sex. The movie studies personalities from high profile businessmen to a “Toddlers in Tiaras” star, and how we are all always striving for more. Generation Wealth was thought provoking, unsettling, and fascinating.

Directed by: Lauren Greenfield

Principal cast: Florian Homm, Tiffany Masters, Jaqueline Siegel

Rating: 5/5

Never Goin’ Back:

Maia Mitchell and Cami Morrone appear in Never Goin’ Back by Augustine Frizzell, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Clay Grier.

Never Goin’ Back features Jessie and Angela, two high school dropouts working at a mediocre diner with a single goal: to get to the beach to celebrate Angela’s birthday. Not surprisingly, they run into some problems along the way to achieving this goal. Their house gets robbed, they end up in a juvenile detention center for two days, and they get too high to function at one afternoon. They are spunky, fiercely loyal to each other, and their free-spirited rebellion could be admired, but there’s little character depth other than that. The most used word throughout this film was undoubtedly the F-word, and the characters were whiny and a little predictable. I can’t see Jessie and Angela, or their two deadbeat roommates, inspiring much more than partying. This movie is fun, and if you like crude humor and don’t want to think that hard, it could be amusing- but don’t expect much more than that.

Directed by: Augustine Frizzell

Principal cast: Maia Mitchell, Cami Morrone, Kyle Mooney, Joel Allen, Kendal Smith, Matthew Holcomb

Rating: 2.5/5

Skate Kitchen:

Rachelle Vinberg, Ajani Russell, Nina Moran and Dede Lovelace appear in Skate Kitchen by Crystal Moselle, an official selection of the NEXT program at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Skate Kitchen tells the story of Camille, a skateboarding teenager from Long Island, New York that ventures into the city when she finds a group of girl skateboarders on an Instagram account called “Skate Kitchen.” Camille is painfully shy, but becomes a part of the group and begins to discover herself in the process and throughout the movie. The movie is semi-based on true events, as the main characters are all members of a group called “Skate Kitchen” in real life, but director Crystal Moselle created new personas for the members to play in the movie, and the story is fictional. Because of this, I will give it some credit- for not being professional actresses, the members of “Skate Kitchen” are only a little awkward on screen. Also, I haven’t watched a movie with Jaden Smith in it since The Karate Kid, and his presence was a pleasant surprise. Despite overusing the words “valid” and “bro,” Skate Kitchen manages to give an interesting perspective on a niche part of American culture.

Directed by: Crystal Moselle

Principal cast: Rachelle Vinberg, Dede Lovelace, Jaden Smith, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell, Kabrina Adams

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Look for more coverage of Sundance: London coming throughout the week.