The Strike, 2016
Directors: Guillermo Iván and Ben Loggins
Starring: Bronson Pinchot, Erin Fogel, Guillermo Iván, Christopher Marquez, Lara Goldie and Paul Calderon
After years of missed opportunities, criticism, and bad first impressions, 3 less than talented NYC actors take fate into their own hands when they devise a half-baked theatrical “siege” in order to prove they have what it takes.
The Strike follows a group of wannabe actors in New York City – Molly (Fogel), Alberto (Ivan) and Richard (Marquez) – as they continue to follow their dreams of “making it” in the Big Apple. Down but not quite out, the trio concoct quite the scheme to help them give it one more go: when they hear that supreme talent agent Carlo Lombardi (Bronson Pinchot) is part of Molly’s yoga class, they decide to perform an audition, of sorts, at one of the classes by staging a fake “siege” where they will capture Carlo, threaten him, amongst other strange things, in order to prove their talents. Extreme times call for extreme measures, right?
With the film made on the lower end of film budgets you’d be forgiven into thinking that The Strike would perhaps be a film to avoid but actually, it’s the complete opposite as it’s actually rather good fun in places. It’s perhaps those less stringent restrictions in the world of indie that go in its favour as it’s removed of the pressures of having to deliver big box office numbers and the like, and as such it is able to poke fun at itself as well as the entertainment industry machine.
Directed by co-star Ivan, the film moves along at a brisk pace through its 90-odd minute running time and encased in there are some amusing set pieces that keep the tone light, bright and good fun. Not all of the jokes don’t land, though, with a sub-plot involving a resurrected Walt Whitman (Paul Calderon) slowing the energy of the film down somewhat, as if lifted from another film.
Indeed, all the actors are good sports throughout the film and perform well, but it’s Erin Fogel (who is also an executive producer on the film) who is the stand-out as Molly, showing great comedic timing, she’s a joy to watch. It’s certainly not the last we will see of her that’s for sure. And in a welcome addition, the brilliant Bronson Pinchot (remember him??) makes an appearance – the comedy actor famed for his roles in Beverley Hills Cop and True Romance, shows he’s still got the “gift of the gab” and helps raise the film’s fun a few notches higher. There’s also a great cameo from Mauricio Bustamante, who follows up his superb turn from Ira Sachs’ Little Men last year.
The film, which won the Best Feature Comedy Award Film at last year’s Manhattan Film Festival, was released on the VOD market just before Christmas and has been performing well. It is clear that the film has been made with much sweat equity, and while some of the jokes don’t quite land as well as others, The Strike is well worth seeking it out if you’re looking for a light-hearted slice of comedy, that moves along at a brisk pace and is set on the scenic backdrop of New York City.
The Strike is available now on VOD platforms
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Scott J. Davis