A clever vehicle for discussions of sexual and environmental politics, “Blue Skies Are a Lie” clouds over shortly before it ends. On the way, though, plenty of fresh talent is exposed. Probably a bit too hazy for general auds, pic could click in some specialized venues, with clear sailing ahead for collegiate vid rentals.
Likable Julie Moses plays Robyn, a Los Angeles postal worker and would-be standup comic (“It’s all in the delivery,” she’s told) who becomes fixated on Joseph (craggy David Lynch vet Keith Brunsmann), a young hermit who hasn’t left his apartment in seven years. Apparently, she’s his only human link with the real world, and it becomes her mission to pry this heavily medicated Grinch out of his newspaper-filled hovel. Much of their bantering is smart and funny, and first-time helmer Gregory Ruzzin’s often dazzling, highly detailed imagery keeps the two-hander from feeling claustrophobic.
Crew hands make a virtue of budget limitations, with expert lensing from David Garden and deft editing by Ruzzin and his brother Mark adding up to clockwork exposition. Spooky sound design is filled with droning TVs and other urban noise.
When these odd birds finally leave the city (and its nifty sets) behind, they get lost in woods. So does the movie. The final quarter consists of overly familiar eco-preaching, with a faint stab at a meller payoff.
Joseph’s obsession with social decay and Robyn’s comic bent don’t really come together to make a unified statement, and the characters remain alienated symbols — albeit intriguing ones. Fortunately, Ruzzin pulls things together for a twist finish, and his missteps soon are forgotten.