Mind Bender Pushes Limits Of Reality & Patience
Jan 18, 2023
Home Movie Reviews Something In The Dirt Review: Mind Bender Pushes Limits Of Reality & Patience
Benson and Moorhead have made it clear what they are interested in as filmmakers and this film is another trippy entry into their burgeoning cannon.
Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson in Something in the Dirt
The story that unfolds in Something in The Dirt plays out like a misguided documentary. Though the greater themes of the film seem to be beyond this universe, Co-directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson (who also wrote the script) cleverly lean into personality quirks and unreliable narration to make the film very human and contemporary, especially considering the amount of history, math and conspiracy theories populating the script. The creators also star in this sci-fi two-hander that is set primarily in a small one-bedroom apartment. Since the film is about making a documentary, there is plenty to unpack.
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When Levi (Benson) moves into a new apartment complex, he runs into fellow neighbor John (Moorhead). Levi works as a bartender and John is a wedding photographer, but they both share an interest in the mysteries of the world. John offers his ex-husband’s furniture as a welcome gift to Levi and the two strike up a friendship. One day, John is leaving Levi’s apartment when he sees a mysterious light reflecting off an ashtray. Upon further investigation, John and Levi realize they have only scratched the surface of the supernatural. They decide the best course of action is to make a documentary about what they are witnessing. Soon after filming begins, they both go down a rabbit hole of secret societies and theoretical abstractions, but something more sinister lies beneath. The supernatural phenomenon might be safe, but John and Levi are not.
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Aaron Moorhead in Something in the Dirt
The film has extraordinarily high aspirations. Saying that they are all reached would be a stretch, but it would be fair to say that they are all addressed. Considering the film’s scope, it becomes tiresome to introduce a B plot about Benson’s relationship with criminal injustice and addiction, but it is the nihilistic viewpoint of Moorhead’s character that brings the secondary plot into focus. He firmly believes that nothing matters, so why worry about overdosing? It’s in contrast to Benson, who has been looking for happiness his whole life and just can’t seem to hold onto it.
The concept of a movie within a movie isn’t new, but the gems are found here in the relationship viewers have to what is art and what is arrogance. Something in The Dirt features two leads who lie, think they are smarter than each other, and frankly represent what is wrong with anyone who is certain their point of view is right. This idea makes sense when juxtaposed with finding a supernatural element inside an apartment. No one will leave this film thinking that’s not exactly what these characters would do in real life. There are a number of films in the vein of Bodies Bodies Bodies, which attempts to explore Gen Z and their shortcomings. But Benson and Moorhead are millennials who are investigating why they can be simultaneously pretentious and broke.
Something in The Dirt is a wild ride that will take one to the limits of reality and test one’s patience. It’s hard to watch unlikable characters, but it’s also fascinating. Benson and Moorhead have made a very interesting movie, and it might even live on to be a cult classic. Benson and Moorhead have certainly made it clear what they are interested in as filmmakers and Something in The Dirt is another trippy entry into their burgeoning cannon.
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Something in the Dirt released in theaters November 4. The film is 116 minutes long and is rated R for language and a brief violent image.
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