Writer and Director: Brian DiLorenzo
Coming with that title, you’d expect more from this low-budget thriller about a teenage boy getting involved in the indie film industry than this dull offering from Brian DiLorenzo. With an obvious debt to The Truman Show and reality shows like Big Brother, Myth ponderously examines the blurred lines between truth and fiction.
Alex is a bored and friendless 19-year-old. When he’s not skateboarding in his yard in his pyjamas he’s writing screenplays in exercise books. The stories he writes are products of wishful thinking; he wants to find friends, a girlfriend, a place where he is accepted. And it seems one night his dreams come true after a car stops for him as he’s running away from the local bullies.
His saviour is JP Smith, a film director behind the cult film Myth, a movie that Alex was obsessed with in his younger years. JP is experiencing writer’s block and believes that Alex could help him find inspiration for his next film. The unlikely couple – JP is at least 15 years older than Alex – spend time together in desolate shopping malls and deserted car parks. When Alex sees a girl he likes, JP grabs his camera and begins to film the young couple flirting and then smoking pot a party.
Initially the film seems to be set in the mid 1990s where no one has a mobile phone and everyone listens to shoegazing rock, but there are laptops and Blu-rays and Video On Demand platforms that also suggest that we are in a parallel universe. As the hand-held camera becomes ever more obtrusive, Alex begins to wonder how much of this universe has been altered in order that JP can make his film.
While DiLorenzo has created a sinister atmosphere in his suburban landscape of malls and diners, the story drags and you can’t help but think that this should be a short film for the festival circuit, a film such as JP would make. At 90 minutes there just isn’t enough story or variety to justify the length, and we’ve seen nerdy and shy characters like Alex before, and we’ve seen them fall in love with confident and clever girls too. The only difference to this story is that every move the couple make is being documented on film, but it stops being an interesting device quite quickly, indeed as quickly as the other characters agree to be filmed.
As Alex, Justin Andrew Davis puts in excellent work, and even though Alex is gullible in the extreme, there’s still enough heart there to make you want to know what happens to him. In his final film role, Nicholas Tucci, who died this year from cancer at the age of 38, doesn’t really have much to do but remain inscrutable and surly. It’s not entirely clear why Alex would want to hang around with this older man, who offers neither advice nor mentorship.
The end can’t come quick enough, especially when it lurches into teenage horror. Perhaps Myth is meant to be a pastiche of all kinds of teenage movies – horror, romance, coming-of-age – in the same way that the Scream series was so successful, but there’s a sense that DiLorenzo wants us to take his debut film more seriously.
Available to stream from July 24 2020