Funny Pages is showing in Curzon Cinemas nationwide from Friday 16th September and on Curzon Home Cinema.
Owen Kline’s feature-length directorial debut is a devilishly brilliant indie gem – a twisted collection of darkly comic vignettes. Robert (Daniel Zolghadri) is a talented young cartoonist who lives in his own world while treating his long-suffering parents like shit. But there is one person Robert looks up to, his radical and slightly creepy art teacher, Mr Katano (Stephen Adly Guirgis). After an extracurricular lesson with Mr Katano goes awry, Robert tells his loving and meek parents (Josh Pais and Maria Dizzia) that he intends to follow his artistic vocation, moving out of his middle-class family home for a shared basement room with a strange guy called Barry (Michael Townsend Wright).
To pay the rent, Robert works at the local DA’s office, and there he meets the volatile Wallace (Matthew Maher), who used to be a colour assistant on a famous comic book line. Seeing Wallace as a potential replacement for the art teacher he lost, Robert embarks on a murky and selfish mission to befriend him at all costs.
READ MORE: DRUNK BUS
Adolescence may have a few perks, but it essentially sucks. It’s an avalanche of hormones, strife, and confusion that most of us would rather forget. Few people tell you when you are a teenager that you’re a selfish and presumptuous prick 60% of the time. Of course, for some, the selfish and presumptuous percentage can be even higher and continue into adulthood. Only when we look back at our teenage selves do we realise this startling fact, and maybe that is one of the reasons we quickly airbrush away our adolescent years in later life.
In cinema, many coming-of-age movies focus on the confusion and sensitivity of growing up while forgoing the selfish prick part. After all, that shit is way too dark and depressing for most audiences. But if you are looking for a movie that joyously explores all angles of teen life, including the selfish prick stage, then Funny Pages is the movie for you. Kline’s awkward teenage odyssey reflects just how random and bizarre everyday life can be while offering an honest interpretation of teen life in all its selfishness, confusion and detachment.
READ MORE: SEE HOW THEY RUN
Many will remember director Owen Kline’s understated and brilliant performance as Jesse Eisenberg’s younger brother in The Squid and the Whale. Here Kline played a nervous and quiet kid whose only emotional outlet was public masturbation. Many may draw parallels between Noah Baumbach’s comedy about a fractured middle-class family and Kline’s devilishly dark sketchbook in tone. But, make no mistake, Funny Pages carves its own unique path and is one of the most creative coming-of-age comedies I have seen in a long time.
Shot on grainy 16mm film, Kline’s vignettes are packed to the brim with weirdness and dry humour. But it is the character of Robert and the performance of Zolghadri that act as the glue sticking each funny page together. Here we have a young man so focused on his identity and art that everyone else is a mere muse. He is selfish, presumptuous, bold and confused, and as a result, he is one of the most realistic teenage characters we have seen on screen this year. There is so much to love in Kline’s movie and so many pages to turn that you may find yourself, like me, longing for more as the credits roll. Funny Pages is indie filmmaking at its best; bold, brash, brave, brilliant and wicked.
READ MORE: I LOVE MY DAD
There is so much to love in Kline’s movie and so many pages to turn that you may find yourself, like me, longing for more as the credits roll. Funny Pages is indie filmmaking at its best; bold, brash, brave, brilliant and wicked.