×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Tyrel’

The lone black guy at a dude-bros’ drunken rural weekend feels very much the odd man out in Sebastián Silva's latest.

Director:
Sebastián Silva
With:
Jason Mitchell, Christopher Abbott, Michael Cera, Caleb Landry Jones, Michael Zegen, Phillip Entingen, Roddy Bottom, Max Born, Nicolas Arze, Trust Arancio, Ann Dowd, Reg. E. Cathey.

1 hour 26 minutes

Think “Get Out” without the horror-fantasy element, but with a lot more alcohol consumption, and you’ve got the gist of “Tyrel.” Sebastián Silva’s latest is a discomfiting snapshot of an African-American guest’s awkward weekend among an otherwise all-white bunch of strangers bro-ing it up at a cabin in the Catskills. Not an especially pointed commentary about race or anything else, this lively, unpleasant seriocomedy nonetheless does very well at capturing the queasiness of being alone and uneasy at a party you immediately know you won’t fit into. That’s not a sensation anybody relishes experiencing — on- or off-screen — suggesting limited prospects perhaps more in the realm of the writer-helmer’s “Nasty Baby” and “Magic Magic” than his relative hits “The Maid” and “Crystal Fairy.”

Thirty-ish Tyler (Jason Mitchell from “Mudbound” and “Straight Outta Compton”) needs to get out of the city for a bit, as his girlfriend’s drama-filled family have taken over their apartment for a few days. Ergo he agrees to go along when friend Johnny (Christopher Abbott) invites him to drive upstate and hang out with the latter’s buddies, an all-male crew ostensibly gathering at Nico’s (Nicolas Arze) rural cabin to celebrate the birthday of Pete (Caleb Landry Jones). The energy is immediately over-the-top in a way that everyone else is familiar with, but which Tyler finds off-putting.

These guys have their rituals, which to any outsider might look stupid, because indeed they are: nonsensical competitive “games,” trash-talking, mutual goading that’s essentially harmless but which Tyler doesn’t quite know how to take. Though there are milder personalities here, like token gay guy Dylan (Roddy Bottom), the collective vibe is a little raucous and challenging for a newcomer, with birthday boy Pete the most grating, pushy presence of all. No wonder the only resident Tyler really warms to at first is canine Cosmo, a sweet-natured pit bull.

The first night, our protagonist deals with the abrasive bacchanal by claiming fatigue and retiring to bed early, a move that gets him called out by Johnny for being a spoilsport. The next day, which turns up the volume further with the arrival of additional dudes, Tyler defensively overindulges in booze and alcohol, which somehow only puts him out of step with everyone else again. Though in his inebriated state he does bond with flamboyant latecomer Alan (Michael Cera), things get yea more drunk and disorderly until he flees into the night — a freezing winter night — just to be somewhere, anywhere else.

Nothing terrible happens in “Tyrel,” at least no more terrible than the kind of weekend you hope to forget because of personal behavior you don’t entirely remember anyway, among people you’d probably prefer not to see again. There’s an early portent that hidden racial prejudices will prove the elephant in the room here — one of the dumb “games” embarrassingly forces Tyler to perform a “black accent” — but that doesn’t really turn out to be the case. Tyler’s discomfort is somewhat racially-based, somewhat cultural, but mostly just plain social. These simply aren’t his kind of people, and their fun too often consists of things he can’t remotely relate to, like howling out old REM songs. Even their discussion of religion and politics (it’s the weekend of Trump’s inauguration) is flippant in a way he finds vaguely galling.

Sharply observed but lacking in the probing psychological insights of Silva’s best movies, “Tyrel” is a chamber piece whose rhythms feel entirely natural (it’s shot in cast member Arze’s house), but which doesn’t resonate greatly after the fadeout. The catharsis one normally waits for in this kind of dramatic piece (revolving around the dinner party or wherever inhibitions are dangerously lowered) never arrives. The film feels like an authentic slice of experience, and at the same time it doesn’t say all that much.

Nonetheless, there’s no doubting the expert way that Silva and his collaborators shape this entertaining if often squirm-inducing minor work, from the assured ensemble work by variably pro actors to the easy intimacy of Alexis Zabe’s widescreen lensing.

Film Review: 'Tyrel'

Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 20, 2017. Running time: 86 MIN.

Production: (International sales: UTA, Los Angeles.) Producers: Max Born, Sebastián Silva, Jacob Wasserman, Gigi Graff, Carlos Zozaya. Executive producer: Nicolas Arze.

Crew: Director, writer: Sebastián Silva. Camera (color, widescreen, HD): Alexis Zabe. Editors: Sofia Subercaseaux, Jennifer Lame.

With: Jason Mitchell, Christopher Abbott, Michael Cera, Caleb Landry Jones, Michael Zegen, Phillip Entingen, Roddy Bottom, Max Born, Nicolas Arze, Trust Arancio, Ann Dowd, Reg. E. Cathey.

More Film

  • Britney Spears Musical

    Britney Spears Musical 'Once Upon a One More Time's' Film Rights Land at Sony

    Sony Pictures has won screen rights to the Broadway-bound “Once Upon a One More Time,” a fairy tale featuring classic songs from Britney Spears, sources have confirmed to Variety. John Davis’ Davis Entertainment will produce the film along with Spears and her manager, Larry Rudolph. Neither a writer nor a director has yet been attached. [...]

  • ‘Girl on the Train’ India Remake

    ‘Girl on the Train’ Indian Remake Set at Reliance Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

    India’s Reliance Entertainment will produce the official Indian remake of Tate Taylor’s 2016 film “The Girl on the Train.” Ribhu Dasgupta, who is currently completing Netflix series “Bard Of Blood,” being produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, will direct. Parineeti Chopra (“Kesari”) will star. Production will commence at U.K. locations from mid-July. Based [...]

  • 'Avengers: Endgame' Cast Gets Hands and

    Watch Live: 'Avengers' Cast Gets Hands and Feet Cemented at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood

    The Avengers have left an indelible mark on popular culture and now they are doing the same to the cement floor outside of the TCL Chinese Theater. Watch the livestream video of “Avengers: Endgame” cast Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans,  Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige imprinting [...]

  • Zachary Levi

    'Shazam!' Star Zachary Levi to Host 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards

    “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi will be suiting up next for the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards in June. Levi will emcee the award show on June 17 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. Nominees will be announced in the coming weeks. Fresh off DC Comics’ latest blockbuster, Levi is no stranger to [...]

  • Steve Golin The Revenant Spotlight Producer

    'Spotlight' Director Tom McCarthy Remembers Steve Golin as 'A Warrior and a Mensch'

    It was a brutal process to get “Spotlight” made. The movie was dead at least three times before we shot it because of financing problems, studio problems, deadlines, actors’ availability and the time of year we could shoot. There were moments when Steve and I were just going at it. We’d have hilarious late-night correspondence. [...]

  • "A War Within"

    SF Studios Scoops International Sales to 'Grandpas,' 'A War Within' (EXCLUSIVE)

    SF Studios has scooped international sales rights to Santiago Requejo’s heartfelt comedy drama “Grandpas” and Kasper Torsting’s WWI-set Danish love drama “A War Within” in the run up to Cannes. Both films are third-party pickups. “Grandpas” is a high-profile Spanish movie starring Carlos Iglesias (“Crossing Borders”), Roberto Álvarez (“Talk to her”) and Ramón Barea (“Everybody [...]

  • 'Gemini Man' First Trailer Drops With

    Will Smith Faces Off Against Himself in Ang Lee's 'Gemini Man' Trailer

    Will Smith battles a familiar antagonist in the official trailer for Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” — himself. Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media dropped dazzling new footage of the futuristic sci-fi drama, scored to a haunting version of “Forever Young,” that sees Smith playing an elite assassin. Things get tricky when he finds out the man [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content