Digging For Fire | Chicago Reader

Digging For Fire

Much as I admire Chicago-based filmmaker Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs, Drinking Buddies) for his dedicated work ethic (he's directed 16 features and acted in dozens of others over the past decade), his movies drive me up the wall. His loose, improvised dialogue sounds like the stuff of acting workshops, and his slim narratives—which tend to focus on millennials hanging out—often strike me as aimless. I can't deny his sure hand with actors; everyone onscreen seems so comfortable one might easily take for granted that Swanberg directed them. Nor can I deny his sensitivity to the zeitgeist; his films contain so many references to what's happening in the culture at the time that they double as time capsules. Still I question whether Swanberg actually has anything to say about his time and place; I never leave his portraits of white, liberal, middle-class millennials feeling I've learned anything. Continue reading >>

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