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  Tyger Tyger Pandemic Blues
Year: 2021
Director: Kerry Mondragon
Stars: Sam Quartin, Dylan Sprouse, Nekhebet Kum Juch, Thea Sofie Loch Naess, Craig Stark, Eden Brolin, Max Madsen, Alma Martinez, Barbara Palvin, Jinxy Bonesaw, Cody Burkett, Dan Garland, Bobby Hill, Shane Jerominski, Allie Kaplan, Lexie Kaplan
Genre: Romance, Weirdo, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Blake (Sam Quartin) has an idea to liberate medication to distribute among the poor now that a pandemic has struck the world, and to that end has arranged with her boyfriend Cole (Max Madsen) to rob stores selling it and make like medicinal Robin Hoods. Also along for the ride is Bobby (Nekhebet Kum Juch), who currently cannot speak, but is a willing participant in criminality nonetheless, though their latest escapade manages to see Blake mixed up with a junkie bystander, Luke (Dylan Sprouse), who she swaps clothes with to ensure a better getaway - though, hey, that was his lucky shirt, with Tyger Tyger emblazoned on it, a reference to William Blake's poem. Could there be a connection?

Your guess is as good as mine, as a lot went either unexplained or mumbled in this throwback to the glory days of hippies in the late nineteen-sixties and early seventies getting their hands on a movie camera and making an minor epic (or a porno, whatever was easier). This was less Zabriskie Point and more Alice in Acidland, complete with rambling conversations, trippy imagery, a focus on the landscape and skyscape around the desert location most of it took place in, and every so often, the intrusion of drugs into the narrative, and not the physically improving medication that Blake (the character, not the artist/poet) is set on spreading around to help with a cure for the pandemic. Curiously, this was filmed in 2019, a little prediction it got right.

This was supposedly set in the near future, where society has broken down to an extent, and sees Blake, a reluctant Luke and Bobby steal a car and head off to an encampment they have heard about to see a mysterious doctor who may be able to assist, though quite why Luke trusts these girls when they have already destroyed his stash is another conundrum the film is less keen on explaining. It is easy to understand why Tyger Tyger irritated so many (among those who actually caught it), as it came across as the most indulgent of millennial items with a lazy attitude to conversing (vocal fry much in evidence), a glancing acknowledgement of plot, concerns about the wider world that seemed less than realistic, and a general air of not getting to grips with life.

On the other hand, if you did appreciate all those hippy efforts of fifty years before, and wanted to see them updated, this was actually quite a relaxing watch once you got over the cast throwing in swearing to hide the fact they were having trouble remembering their lines. There was an ambience of the world running down like a clockwork mouse here, initially frantic but eventually accepting, with such hippy signifiers as the campfire drugtaking scene, or a love scene with actual nudity, not the fully clothed variety that abounded in twenty-first century films and television. If anything, Tyger Tyger was evoking the spirit of the Australian cult movie Dogs in Space - from the eighties, not the sixties - with its aimless youth trying to find a direction and failing, and the fashionably wasted cast at least got that, though whether by accident or design was unclear. If you wanted the post-apocalypse vibe, this was less Mad Max and more The Bed-Sitting Room, where futility had taken over and wackiness was your sole escape. Though the twist ending included was a bit of a cheek. Music by Daniele Luppi.

[TYGER TYGER will be released 28th June 2021 on all digital platforms.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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