Drinking Buddies (2013) D: Joe Swanberg

Drinking Buddies

Drinking Buddies

The minimalist plot of Drinking Buddies involves brewery co-workers Luke (Jake Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde) who clearly have a connection but are each involved with somebody else; Luke with Jill (Anna Kendrick), his girlfriend of six years and Kate with her boyfriend Chris (Ron Livingston). When all four come together at a beach-side house for a weekend, the drama of their relationships unfolds.

This thin plot is deliberate. In fact, there was never a script given to the actors who were simply told the events that had to happen during each day of filming. Understandably, driven by a quartet of very capable actors, this makes for incredibly natural and realistic dialogue. At some points, there are even awkward silences which are so real they will make some viewers blush.

Director Joe Swanberg (Art History, Caitlin Plays Herself ) has put together the latest example of the ascendant indie genre Mumblecore (known for its low budgets, less well known or even amateur actors and naturalistic dialog. Shot in a real brewery, Drinking Buddies has moments that feel like vérité and is brave enough to have not much going on in character conversations. The situations on display are all as realistic as the dialogue; Johnson and Wilde are actually drunk at one stage and the camera never intrudes on any of the moments it captures.

While there isn’t any life-altering revelations unearthed by all of this realism, Drinking Buddies is an impressive showcase of its format and the skills of its four lead actors. In part seemingly a deification of alcohol and the old adage In Vino Veritas, Swanberg’s film will make you want to see more Mumblecore and most likely need a cold beer.

Brave performances and direction make a refreshing binge. 4 stars.


~ by mfnm on November 2, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: