Can we talk about an acquired distaste? Contemporary technology allows independent filmmakers with a name the tenacity to self-distribute their work to their most enthusiastic fans, and animator Bill Plympton would likely make a fine illustration. If you care for his work. If you get his work, which I don’t. His latest hand-drawn noir fable-or-something-or-other, “Idiots & Angels,” left me as slack-jawed as anything else of his I’ve seen. I just don’t engage: his pencil-rough sketch style moves in front of me, characteristic enough, and… his unpleasant caricatures of an unpleasant world leave me looking at the dance of light on the ceiling above me. I salute Plympton’s enterprise, even with this leaden, word-free gangster nightmare. The stop-motion artists’ credit at the end is sweet-hearted. Among this week’s releases, his stump-headed everyman figure joins “Black Swan”‘s Nina Sayers in imagining himself or herself growing bristle on the shoulders toward full-flown wings. Darren Aronofsky’s grue grows into something more troubling than whimsy. The deeply aggravating music selections include Tom Waits and whistling. Homely whistling. Abrasive whistling. 78m. (Ray Pride)
Opens Friday at the Music Box.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.