Year: 2017
Director(s): Christian Papierniak
Writer(s): Christian Papierniak
Region of Origin: US

Rating: n/a
Digital, Color, 86 mins

Synopsis: A woman at rock bottom must find her way across Los Angeles in order to crash her ex-boyfriend’s engagement party. (Source)

Can you really argue with a film called Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town? True to form, Christian Papierniak’s directorial debut is loud, fast and catchy, playing out like your favorite punk rock mixtape and easily living up to its title. Taking a smart premise, this is a rowdy, at-all-costs jaunt through Los Angeles, a rapid-fire odyssey through the city’s lost souls and the stories that get lost by the wayside. Like a bull barreling straight towards its target, Papierniak’s film is untethered by its simplicity, knowing exactly what it wants to be while still managing to throw in a few surprises along the way. Killer tunes, cut-and-paste chapter titles and a fierce performance from Mackenzie Davis make this unmissable, especially if you like your films to hit hard and get straight to the point.

After waking up in a stranger’s bed, a wayward Instagram post rocks Izzy (Mackenzie Davis) with a stunning revelation: her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend are getting hitched. Of course, there’s no way that this’ll go down without Izzy having her say – the only problem is, she doesn’t have any money and her car’s in the shop. Down on her luck and basically at rock bottom, Izzy’s got just five hours to get from one side of town to the other, and she’ll stop at nothing to get there. Along the way, old wounds will be ripped open, and a cavalcade of larger-than-life characters will help the desperate soul confront some hard truths.

What makes Papierniak’s film so fun is that, like it’s main character, it’s a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. From minute to minute, things are loose and unpredictable, a chaotic trainwreck we can’t help but remained glued to. Papierniak tells his story with a strong sense of visual style, with editing that splices screens and dream sequences that look like album covers. Through it all, Papierniak contrasts the kinetic energy of his plot with a character who is emotionally and psychological stunted – a sobering revelation that illustrates how perpetual movement isn’t always progress, and that happiness is hard to find when we’re looking in the wrong place. As a misadventure with mounting stakes and colorful characters, there’s never a dull moment, replete with surprisingly poignant interludes between the chase, an impromptu Heavens to Betsy cover and a heroine who is as flawed as the rest of us, learning the hard way that she’s taking the long way around.

Anchoring everything, Mackenzie Davis is a force of nature. As Izzy, Davis turns in a neurotic performance that is too painful and relatable to look away from. Davis embodies the idea of betrayal and hurt, but also a resilience that’s hard to shake – she’s also really charismatic despite her perpetually frenzied state. The ensemble of characters behind Davis is impressive too – Carrie Coon, Haley Joel Osment, Alia Shawkat, Lakeith Stanfield Annie Potts, Brandon T. Jackson and others – there are too many to list, but everyone brings a distinct, indispensable flavor to an already gleefully chaotic story.

Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town is an explosion of punk ethos and an odyssey about finding our true self. It flies by, barely taking time to catch its breath, kicking and screaming all the way to its cathartic end. At its heart, the film evokes the raw energy of your favorite four-chord anthem, messy and raw, yet lined with genuine hooks and a rhythm that makes you want to stand up and dance.

SG