Cinema Review: 24 Exposures | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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24 Exposures

Studio: IFC Midnight
Directed by Joe Swanberg

Jan 22, 2014 Web Exclusive
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The newest film by mumblecore director Joe Swanberg, 24 Exposures follows fetish photographer Billy Wingard as his day job shooting recreations of gruesome deaths and his hobby of sleeping with his models threaten to collide with potentially dire consequences.

Although the plot sounds like vintage Brian DePalma, 24 Exposures filters its lurid subject matter through the low-key, DIY aesthetic which Swanberg and his collaborators have cultivated over the past decade. The improvisational acting and sparse sets give the film a decidedly amateurish sensibility, but Swanberg steers the film out of cheap thriller territory and turns it into an occasionally witty character piece; the risk he takes is whether audiences will enjoy the characters he chooses to focus on. Billy (played by indie horror director Adam Wingard) is both enviable and irritating as a pretentious photographer whose girlfriend not only condones his sleeping around, but sometimes joins in herself. In a parallel plot line, screenwriter Simon Barrett plays a homicide detective investigating the murder of one of Billy’s former models. In an interesting twist on the trope, Barrett plays the stock character of a strung-out, freshly divorced cop not as the usual, John McClane-style bad-ass, but as a mopey, contemplative sadsack. The change-up is interesting, but not always compelling.

The two story lines converge and resolve in a fairly typical manner, but at a fleet 74 minutes, the film feels like it’s rushing into a conclusion just as it’s starting to build steam. As the credits roll, 24 Exposures feels more like an interesting experiment and less like an actual thriller.

Author rating: 5.5/10

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