Aardvark is Aawful
We frequently receive request to review small, independently distributed films. To speak honestly, these are usually not high quality films, but occasionally one will have a good original story, or show a young filmmaker with potential. I enjoy these because it can be fun to see what a creative mind can produce when they are only trying to make good art, but sometimes, an uncreative mind makes bad art.
What you will be subject to, if you choose to watch Aardvark is roughly 80 minutes of extraordinarily sloppy filmmaking, and a wasted good idea. Honestly, I’m not sure what upset me more, that the idea behind the film is actually good, and intriguing enough to make a good story but was so abused that it was nearly unwatchable, or that every aspect of the filmmaking was lazy, and absurdly juvenile.
To sit here, and enumerate the cinemagraphic sins committed by Kitao Sakurai would not only be masochistic, it would be kicking a dead horse when he is down. Instead, I will just touch briefly on the big ones. The narrative is the lifeblood of any story. Without a cohesive and coherent narrative, the story is really just a collection of events with common characters. This film has only the vaguest shadow of a coherent narrative, resulting in me having to qualify my synopsis with “as far as I can tell”. The direction or lack thereof, left characters mulling around on screen, concealing action, and failing to deliver satisfactorily intelligible dialogue. The actions portrayed on screen are rarely supported by any established motivation, and rarer still are the actions relevant to the story that I think the film was attempting to tell. Lastly, Dutch Crouse playing Detective Dutch is the worst, easily, on screen cop I have ever seen. The performance delivered is appallingly bad on every level. As a trained actor it was offensive, as one familiar with law enforcement it was criminal, and as an audience member it was insulting.
Aardvark relates the story, as far as I can tell, of Larry, a blind alcoholic in recovery who enrolls in a Jujitsu class and becomes friends with the instructor Darren. When Darren is found dead in his apartment, Larry sets off on a brief journey to avenge his friend. That accounts for maybe one quarter of the total film running time, if I am counting time generously.