Sunday, October 28, 2012

3 shrt prgrphs: The Catechism Cataclysm

2011, Todd Rohal -- netflix

This is an odd, odd little movie.  I'm not certain what the point is.  I definitely didn't know what a "catechism" is before watching the movie, and now, having read numerous explanations, I'm not entirely certain I understand how it's applied.  So either the film is deeper or more shallow than I thought.  But, truth told, I haven't thought about it all that much, except in appreciation of the oddity it is.

The film stars Eastbound and Down's Steve Little as a far-too-old-to-be-so-wide-eyed-and-naive priest, Father William Smoorster, whose teachings to his local congregation are less than imbued with the holy spirit.  He's told to take a week off, during which he reconnects with his sister's former high-school boyfriend, Robbie Shoemaker (Robert Longstreet), a man whom he's idolized deeply for decades.  The haggard Robbie seems perplexed by their reunion, obviously overwhelmed by the hyper, cheerful and unsullied personality before him.  Father William goes on and on about Robbie's shorts stories and his awesome metal band, presuming Robbie to have the superstar life fitting his adulation, and seems completely unable to hear the actual truth.  Suckered in by his energy and perhaps a little lonely himself, Robbie agrees to take a canoe trip with Father William, where, naturally, things go south.

Along the way Robbie, upon request, tells William a few stories, each of which are actually quite clever and entertaining, but their vague resolutions leave William wanting more concrete answers.  The film opens with a death metal, flames-and-pentagrams infused opening title sequence, leaving one to expect an in-your-face horror of some kind, and the entire canoe trip, up to the point where they realize they're lost, has this sensation lording over it.  After they get lost, and the truth gets laid on the line, the intensity ratchets up, but doesn't pay off quite as expected.  What ultimately occurs is best left unspoiled, but suffice it to say, it's totally random, exceedingly odd and, depending on your perspective, delightfully oblique, or confusing, pointless and inane.  I fall in the former camp, so, truth told, I kind of love this movie.  Both Little and Longstreet are fantastic, and definitely bring something special to each of their roles.  An buddy-less buddy comedy, a horror-less horror, and just plain weird lost-in-the-woods adventure, I smell a cult favourite in the making, one that's likely to take a long time, even in the internet age, to catch on, but there's definitely something here to come back to and keep enjoying.