Harry Goodwin’s review published on Letterboxd:
Meechee Boys Isolation Challenge
5/20 - Least watched film of a director's filmography
Used this category to finally see this, which I've been meaning to for about 10 years.
So, why isn't everyone always talking about this film, because they should be. So many of its themes and the things it grapples with have become ever-more relevant and timely, approaching 15 years after coming out.
This film is by far the closest thing to infinite jest i have seen, and if there ever is an adaptation of it (god forbid) i can guarantee this will be better.
The whole first hour (apart from some very heavy exposition in the beginning, which was apparently forcefully added against Kelly's will) is gleefully insane and I was completely loving it, the thing that sealed the deal being just how much i was laughing, too. So funny.
As it goes on I definitely lost my grasp on what the fuck was going on, but i feel like that was expected. This definitely made the denouement less impactful than it could have been, as nothing mattered to me as i had no clue what anything meant.
But you know what i dont mind so much as by this point i was won over to the extent that i knew i would be revisiting it, and there are just so many things going on at any one time to enjoy. Wallace shawn!, eg.
I'm not even going to start listing all the stuff that this film is packed full of, because you should probably just see it, but there was definitely the temptation to just message everyone and say things like 'man, this is wild, the neo-marxists are trying to rig an election by collecting severed fingers!', and so on. That moment, by the way, is mentioned for about a few seconds and never recurs. There are so many things like this.
One of my huge gripes is the at times staggeringly weird off kilter and kind of twin peaks the return/neil breen shitness to the performances, particularly from dwayne johnson. But, after having read up on the plot some more, I found out theres a literal reason for that within the world of the film itself which brought me so much joy as to pretty much render that complaint irrelevant. (i'm subtly trying to tie things into this review that'll hopefully convince my friends to watch this, could you tell?)
oh i don't know any more, i think I maybe loved it? gonna be a consumer and buy the bloody comics that apparently you literally need to understand the plot and watch it a few more times and it'll probably end up being my favourite film ever or something, i dont know. I can tell you that it made me very very excited to see something this batshit and hugely ambitious, that also feels so incredibly prescient.