Overview: When Raphael, semi-successful actor turned bartender, and Dominic, a young, hardworking guy who can’t seem to catch a break, get the chance of a lifetime to pitch a film script to an interested producer, they head out to the country to attempt to write a winning script in just ten days. Of course, things don’t go according to plan, and there are all kinds of distractions for Raphael and Dominic. 81 minutes. 2014.
Oh, the Self Indulgence: I once told a friend that I was pretty much guaranteed to enjoy any movie where a group of self-involved young adults get drunk together around a campfire, and I meant that. Characters who laugh hysterically and then sigh as they look into the flames and think about all of the mistakes they’ve made in their lives are my kind of characters. If you feel this way too, then Loitering With Intent is a movie you’re going to want to check out.
Maybe it’s self-indulgent and a little too meta at times. All right, fine. Admittedly, it’s pretty self-indulgent the entire time and always threatening to be annoyingly meta, but hey, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. On the contrary, I found this simple movie to be well acted, sharply written and quietly introspective at its best.
The Highs and Lows: Sam Rockwell and Marisa Tomei are standouts as a man struggling to control his lingering anger issues, and a woman who just wants her boyfriend to understand why she’s angry with him. The relationship isn’t a particularly new or refreshing one, but Rockwell and Tomei bring interesting nuances to their characters, and the film would have been stronger had these two been its focus.
Alas, it is Raphael and Dominic the film decides to zero in on. Iván Martín is solid as Raphael, and Michael Godere does his best to make Dominic interesting, but when you get down to it, the biggest problem lies with the writing. These characters just aren’t very likable and even as they swear that they’re going to write for ten days and come up with an amazing script, they are impossible to believe and mostly impossible to root for. They seem destined to fail, and once you come to terms with that, the movie becomes a lot more enjoyable and less frustrating.
The film’s directing has a fast and spontaneous feel that matches the screenplay’s tone well, and the cinematography stands out, as nearly every scene feels carefully considered and beautified as much as possible. Overall, Loitering With Intent is lovely, if a bit overwhelming.
In the end: Maybe I like watching movies about neurotic, struggling screenwriters because I am, myself, a neurotic and struggling screenwriter. And I think that’s ok. To see a character that reminds you of yourself on screen, even if what you see turns out to not be very likable at all, is one of cinema’s loveliest gifts to its viewers. Loitering With Intent isn’t for everyone, but it is for some people, and by the end of this review, I’m sure you already know if you’re one of them.