In a dirty and dilapidated living room, we find Abbie, a gamer with low self-esteem who needs to prove his worth. When he encounters his last chance to achieve it, he goes all the way: he has to reach Pac-Man’s level 256, something that is completely impossible to achieve due to a programming error. Furthermore, Abbie has to complete that feat without getting up from the couch. Joel Potrykus, director of the acclaimed Buzzard (screened during the second edition of the festival), repeats his formula with his main actor, Joshua Burge. Potrykus drags his protagonist into an underground imaginary world where the line between reality and fiction is often blurred.
Although the action is set between four walls, the filmmaker creates an episodic dynamism, developing a series of scenes where characters enter and leave, making the feat more complicated than it already is. The confusing temporality of the narrative, the limited spatiality, the retro epic of the late 90s and the multiple references to the cinema and culture of that era all lead us to a vitriolic experience. The protagonist is an urban shipwreck that makes the audience doubt in his own chances of survival, resting upon shattered willpower and a reality that is not yet ready to face Y2K. Relaxer is as aware of its references as it is of itself, and this is demonstrated throughout the length of the film. And as for Potrykus, he consolidates himself as the most genuine and bold indie authors of the recent years.
2018: SXSW Film Festival
2018: Fantasia Film Festival – Best Actor (Joshua Burge)
Runtime: 91 min
Direction: Joel Potrykus
Screenplay: Joel Potrykus
Cinematography: Adam J. Minnick
OST: Alan Palomo and Neon Indian
Cast: Joshua Burge, David Dastmalchian, Andre Hyland
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Contact: Oscilloscope Films