Exist | Chicago Reader

Exist

More mystery than polemic, this low-budget video drama by Esther Bell focuses on the growing conflict between two young men in a Philadelphia squatters' camp, one a privileged black college dropout (Ben Bartlett) and the other a poor white kid (Nic Mevoli) estranged from his father, an alcoholic cop. After a police raid on their home leaves an officer dead, the rich kid disappears, and the poor one, pressured by his father, sets out to find the suspected cop killer. Bartlett and Mevoli give appealing performances, and Bell adds to the authenticity by peppering their radical clique with real-life activists. The gonzo camera style and judicious use of slow and fast motion enhance the restless feeling of lives spent on the fringe. 80 min.

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