Rating: Not Rated
Length: 78 minutes
Director: Aaron Katz (Dance Party, USA; All the Stage is a World)
Writers: Aaron Katz (Dance Party, USA; Hoopla), Erin Fisher, and Cris Lankenau
Starring: Erin Fisher, Cris Lankenau, Joe Swanberg, Keegan DeWitt, C. Mason Wells, Sarah Hellman, Tucker Stone, Liz Bender
“Quiet City” is mumblecore’s “Before Sunrise”. Jamie (Erin Fisher) from Atlanta is supposed to be a visiting an old friend in New York. When she arrives, however, her friend is unreachable. She gets directions to a café they were supposed to meet at from a friendly New Yorker named Charlie (Cris Lankenau) - and so begins a beautiful friendship that may or may not blossom into a romance. Mumblecore in general is, of course, a lot more low key than Richard Linklater’s work. The conversations are cute and realistic, but not nearly as interesting as those in Linklater’s indie romantic masterpiece(s). Sustaining the audience’s interest for seventy plus minutes becomes a bit difficult, particularly due to the fact that leads Fisher and Lankenau (both of whom co-wrote the screenplay with director Aaron Katz) aren’t very charismatic. The more successful mumble movies work best when they have a Greta Gerwig, Kate Dollenmayer, and/or Tipper Newton around. Lack of chemistry aside, the film is sweet and well meaning. It is also one of the more beautifully photographed films of it’s genre- showing New York in it’s lovely dimly lit late night glory. The film does a nice job of establishing the relationship between it’s two main characters, though you’re grateful when they start to interact with others towards the midway mark of the picture (including a supporting role from “Hannah Takes the Stairs” writer/director Joe Swanberg as Charlie’s hat stealing best friend). “Quiet City” also doesn’t take the easy way out in it’s finale either (like “Sunrise”) which is admirable. This was my first introduction to writer/director Aaron Katz, who also made the acclaimed (but unseen by me) “Dance Party, USA”. I think he has a considerable amount of talent up his sleeves. I’d like to see what he could do with a better cast.