Review by Sean Boelman
One of the best things about festivals is getting the opportunity to see films from exciting new voices in the world of cinema, and Noah Dixon and Ori Segev’s Poser may be one of the most intriguing discoveries of this year’s festival. Imperfect but alluring, this dive into the world of music and music journalism is the type of movie that eludes description.
The film follows a young music podcaster who finds herself forming an obsession when she is taken under the wing of an indie pop musician. It starts out playing like a quirky comedy with a bit of a thriller vibe to it but eventually evolves into something more complex, hooking the viewer in a way that is even better than traditional suspense.
Somehow, the movie ends up exactly where you think it will from the beginning and yet feels subversive and unexpected at the same time. It’s a slow burn leading up to a payoff that is obvious yet still entirely unsettling. For much of the film, viewers will be laughing nervously, completely expecting to be shocked but caught off-guard nevertheless.
One of the things that makes Dixon’s script stand out is that it absolutely holds nothing back. It is a searing dissection of this portion of the music industry and how hypocritical it can be at times. Entertainment journalism is a unique beast, and Dixon captures it in a way that is effectively both satirical and true-to-life.
If the movie does struggle with one thing, it is the character development. Too much of the film is shrouded in mystery for the audience to form a genuine emotional connection with the characters. Of course, a feeling of distance from the characters appears to be intentional but extends a bit too far into a coldness at some points.
Sylvie Mix’s lead performance is excellent, made more impressive by the fact that this is one of her first on-screen roles. She takes a character that could have been somewhat generic and turns it into a showcase for her range. The supporting cast which includes multiple real Columbus indie musicians adds an extra dose of realism to the movie.
The film also looks really good, Dixon and Segev having an unexpectedly assured style despite this being their debut. One of the most impressive things about this movie is how they use the visuals to make everything feel somewhat off-kilter, as if it is taking place in a world that is close but slightly different from our own.
Poser is one of those festival films that doesn’t have the highest profile, but deserves some of the most eyes of the lineup. It’s an insanely intriguing watch, and cinephiles should keep Noah Dixon and Ori Segev on their list of filmmakers to watch.
Poser is currently seeking distribution.