Director Christian Papierniak’s exciting but uneven debut feature -- Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town -- takes a road trip approach to one musician’s frenzied odyssey across LA. A cast of wonderful character actors supply the film with some interesting and touching moments but it isn’t enough to save the story from itself. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray arrives with a solid transfer, a respectable DTS track, and enough bonus features to please anyone interested in this film. Get across town and Give it a Rent.
“Not even the movies are like the movies anymore.”
When I’m watching a film that’s lost its course there is no greater satisfaction than seeing it find a way back on track. Writer/Director Christian Papierniak’s debut feature Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town is an ambitious film with some bold and interesting choices that frequently derail the narrative but, by the end, Papierniak proves there’s merit in rocking the boat.
Struggling musician Izzy (Mackenzie Davis) wakes from a fever dream in an unfamiliar bed and crawls her way to the bathroom. Her frazzled hair lops over her hungover face as she finds her bloodstained waitstaff jacket and approaches a snoring man still in bed. “And how did I get here?” she bluntly asks the sleeping stranger. George (Lakeith Stanfield) doesn’t know either, but Izzy ultimately becomes distracted by his bookshelf and his ability to supply some cute banter about Moby Dick. She checks her phone only to discover her ex-boyfriend is getting married to her best friend. According to Instagram, the party is tonight and Izzy feels compelled to win him back thanks to a series of prophetic signs pointing to “Providence”. Thus begins the frantic journey across a city she has only recently called home. Broke, hungover, and constantly lost, Izzy is desperate to make it through the city at any cost. Relying on her estranged sister (Carrie Coon), her lazy mechanic (Brandon T. Jackson), a sleazy yet romantic Taskrabbit customer (Haley Joel Osment), or a sweet eccentric artist (Annie Potts) Izzy navigates the cruel realities of life in hopes of attaining her destiny.
Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town feels like any late 90’s/early 00’s independent film right down to the eye-catching title. With a stellar ensemble cast portrayed mostly in vignettes, this dark comedy is a ragged affair with a deep emotional message carrying the film along. Those fans of Richard Linklater’s work will no doubt see some parallels here. Izzy’s vulnerabilities are as powerful as her destructive behaviors in crafting a sense of worth for this film. It’s this hungover decision to crash her ex’s party that makes her character so relatable. We’ve all done desperate and crazy things for love, right?
Director Christian Papierniak throws everything at this movie to help pad the narrative and create an interesting world for Izzy. Elements like the punk soundtrack and split screen sequences work nicely to add the sense of urgency to the story. However, the title cards used to denote chapters in Izzy’s odyssey are adorable but end up slowing the film’s momentum to a screeching halt every 15 minutes. It’s distracting material that ultimately doesn’t serve the story.
Mackenzie Davis is well cast as the desperately erratic yet cooly grounded Izzy. She keeps a confident grip on the complexities of the character from the raging outbursts to grinning cathartic realizations with utter ease. Davis also sings which adds an emotional punch that I didn’t see coming. When Izzy and her sister Virginia reunite they are goaded into singing an acoustic version of Heaven to Betsy’s “Axemen”. It’s a beautiful and gut-wrenching moment that defines Izzy in much greater depth. Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town goes in unexpected directions to reveal that none of us are living the lives we think we should be living.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Shout! Factory. Pressed onto a Region A BD-25 disc and housed in a standard keepcase the film loads to a static Main Menu screen with typical navigation options.
Presented in 1080p with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town looks great on Blu-ray. This is a seat-of-your-pants ride that doesn’t skimp on interesting locations to fill the image with bright L.A. sunshine for our dearth of characters along the way. Izzy gets a dreamlike yet gritty visual treatment with handheld camera work that allows us to engage with the story on an intimate level. The transfer sings with solid primary colors like Dick’s Santa jacket or the entirety of Mary’s artistic abode. It isn’t until the 3rd act that color tone relaxes to softer hues and parallels the broad emotional complexities we’re faced with on screen. Skin tones are even throughout the feature. Black levels remain solid. Fine detail is evident from the lines on Virginia’s face to the intricate pattern on Agatha’s dress. A great looking image, given the film’s aesthetic.
Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town gets a respectable DTS-HD MA 5.1 and a solid 2.0 mix as the available audio tracks. The casual DTS mix relies on the front/center channels with minimal involvement from rear/sub channels. Dialogue is clear and clean with no hiss detected. Scoring and music tracks sing through the mix with clarity and balance. Unfortunately, as a film about musicians finding their way, I was hoping for a stronger presence from the audio mix.
Christian Papierniak’s debut feature Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town is an ambitious indie that succeeds in carving out a space for 30-something slackers hell bent on achieving their destiny. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray arrives with a solid A/V presentation and just enough special features to please fans of the film. Get across town and Give it a Rent.