The Movie Waffler New Release Review - ANCHORAGE | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - ANCHORAGE

Two brothers embark on a plan to smuggle opioids from Florida to Alaska.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Scott Monahan

Starring: Scott Monahan, Dakota Loesch

There's a growing aversion among younger movie viewers to unlikeable characters. The classic anti-heroes of the past seem to hold little appeal for today's kids, who prefer to spend their time in the company of aspirational figures. What will Gen-Z make of Anchorage, which features a pair of protagonists so objectionable that the movie seems to revel in daring you to make it through its mercifully brief 80 minutes?

As a Gen-Xer, I'm quite happy to spend my time with awful characters, but they have to be interesting. Anchorage's white trash brothers Jacob and John, played respectively by director Scott Monahan and screenwriter Dakota Loesch, are awfully uninteresting.

For a start, they never quite convince as three dimensional humans. With their colour-coded aesthetic (Jacob clad in blue, John in red) and bad dye-jobs, they resemble anime caricatures of villains. A backstory involving a dead mother is dished out in expository nuggets, but it does little to flesh out their characters. Jacob and John might be compared to Of Mice and Men's George and Lennie, except both of these men are volatile and prone to outbursts of violence. It's the disparate degrees of violence each finds acceptable that suggests their journey is headed for its own "look at the flowers" reckoning.

In practical terms, Jacob and John's journey should take them from Florida, where they somehow stole thousands of pills, to Anchorage, Alaska, where they reckon they can make close to a million dollars by selling said narcotics to bored fishermen. The movie opens with the pair making their way through the desolation of the American SouthWest, spending their nights in abandoned ghost towns.

Much of the film forces us to watch the brothers get high on their own supply and launch into extended riffs that they seem to find hilarious, but which come off as intolerable pieces of improv for the viewer. The film screams its blunt message about the sorry state of the US in an eye-rolling sequence in which 'America the Beautiful' is sung over a montage of the bros getting wasted and acting like jackasses. Monahan and Loesch certainly convince as the sort of scuzzballs you'd cross the street (or walk out of a screening) to avoid, and any casting director who watches Anchorage will likely add them to their "punks and goons" folder.

With anything resembling a narrative almost entirely absent, it's difficult to view Anchorage as anything other than a calling card for the two actors at its core. What might be considered the film's inciting incident occurs with less than 15 minutes of its running time lef. Just when you think this road trip is about to take an interesting turn, the credits roll. It may be only 80 minutes long, but you'll likely find yourself asking "Are we there yet?" several times throughout Anchorage.

 is in UK cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema from September 1st.