What Is It? | Chicago Reader

What Is It?

72 minutes 2014

The first feature (2005) of actor Crispin Glover (Dead Man, Willard), shot in 16-millimeter and blown up to 35, tries hard to be as eccentric as his performances and fully succeeds. It also manages to be fairly repulsive, which also seems intentional. Most of the cast members have Down syndrome—and another with cerebral palsy crouches naked in a giant seashell while monkey-faced porn actresses try to jerk him off. The thematic preoccupations include snails, cemeteries, swastikas, Shirley Temple, and an extremely racist country-western song. Glover, who appears in the film as a kind of barbarian dictator-auteur, lacks both the self-imposed ideological innocence and the talent for composing sounds and images of David Lynch, and I much prefer his ditsy slide shows.

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