Bad dialogue and bad acting might convince some of the authenticity behind “Bad Posture,” but there’s no getting around the tedious navel-gazing of Malcolm Murray’s fiction debut. Set in the helmer’s hometown of Albuquerque, the pic features a couple of chain-smoking friends skirting the wrong side of the law and behaving with a dull immaturity made more tiresome by extended scenes of graffiti tagging, dope peddling and breakdancing. Murray and his scripter-star Florian Brozek appear to think these are cool dudes, whereas most viewers and fest programmers will be less than charmed.Hanging out at a park after being fired, Flo (Brozek) tries to pick up Marrisa (Tabatha Shaun) while housemate Trey (Trey Cole) steals her car. Flo is remorseful and hesitantly attempts to return Marrisa’s belongings, but for Trey, women are “bitches” and he’s got better things to do, like selling pot and organizing a house party. Flo seems a little old to be spray-painting graffiti on trains at night, but then again, these guys don’t have much else in their lives. Aspirations or interests are all pretty much nonexistent, as if the arid soil of New Mexico can’t sustain anything but the most superficial needs and relationships. Albuquerque comes off as a drab lower-middle-class town of directionless losers, which is probably not what Murray (who made the docu “Camera, Camera”) and Brozek were after. There’s a kernel of interest in Flo’s shy pursuit of Marrisa, but it’s not enough to carry audience sympathy, except among people who recognize themselves here — not exactly the American indie fan eager to plunk down the price of admission. Conversations are liberally sprinkled with F-bombs, and for unknown reasons, Trey uses Flo’s name in every other sentence despite talking to him directly. It might be an accurate reproduction of how guys in Albuquerque talk, but is that reason enough to hear it onscreen? The cast of non-pros deliver largely flat perfs, while Murray’s decision to shoot using plenty of closeups does their limited thesping skills no favors. Music choices are ill fitting, never moreso than the use of two arias from Monteverdi’s “L’Orfeo” when Trey and Flo’s house is being covered in graffiti. Could Murray be making a sly association between Orpheus’ attempt to bargain with Charon in hell and Flo’s passive existence in this particular corner of New Mexico? It’s highly doubtful.
A This production in association with Armian Pictures, RSK. Produced by Lucy Bickerton, Neda Armian. Executive producers, Malcolm Murray, Megan Baldrige. Directed, edited by Malcolm Murray. Screenplay, Florian Brozek.
Camera (color, DV), Murray; music supervisor, Andrew Chugg; production designer, Rich Watts; sound, Keenan Jensen, Philip Perkins. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (Bright Future), Feb. 3, 2011. Running time: 93 MIN.
Florian Brozek, Trey Cole, Tabatha Shaun, Jason Gutierrez, Norman Everett, John Romero, Greg Tafoya, Joseph Otero, Mateo Sigwerth, Tyrone Trammel.