By Don Simpson | November 24, 2013
Director: Joel Potrykus
Writer: Joel Potrykus
Starring: Joshua Burge, Gary Bosek, Daniel Falicki, Jason Roth, Gary Perrine, Kevin Clancy, Reynaldo Herrera, Jarrod Napierkowski, Benjamin Riley, Michael Saunders, John Curtis
Trevor (Joshua Burge) is one of those slackers who is miraculously able to scrounge together enough money each month to perpetuate his own existence. Apparently, his only possible revenue streams rely upon his strange and awkward brand of comedy, either by doing standup for an unappreciative audience at a local club or selling his jokes to other comedians; but neither option has proven to be all that lucrative for Trevor, mainly because he is not a funny person. Luckily, Trevor’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan has a low enough cost of living to allow him to continue to flounder around, living off of the small pittance that he earns.
As Trevor practices new comedy routines in the mirror of his tiny efficiency apartment, we sense that he is entertaining himself, but it is never clear if he truly believes that comedy is a viable career path or if he possesses any motivation to become successful at anything. Being that his only other ambition is pyromania, Trevor probably does not have any other feasible options to actually make money. Trevor burns away his seemingly unlimited free time, wallowing in ambitionless boredom, watching the sands of the hourglass slip away until the day that he will no longer be able to afford to live. While Trevor does not have any concrete plans for what he will do when that day comes, it seems pretty clear that he will find some way to go out in a blaze of glory.
Joel Potrykus’ camera rarely leaves Trevor’s side, but as we experience the film from Trevor’s perspective, we realize that it may not be entirely reliable — especially once Trevor starts being haunted by a mysterious man in a gorilla costume (John Curtis) and has an absurd altercation with another man dressed as the devil (Daniel Falicki). If we were not already questioning Trevor’s emotional stability, things really begin to unravel for Trevor after he partakes of the devil’s apple, an act that Trevor perceives as a Faustian gesture.
While the film’s title might allude to the guerrilla suit, it also suggests the primitive nature of Trevor’s existential turmoil. Not only is Trevor’s naive obsession with fire akin to someone who has just discovered their existence, but his approach to life is equally primal — there is no greater primal act than Trevor’s altercation with his neighbor. Trevor also seems to possess no understanding of modern economics. He expects to continue living as a comedian, even though he lacks any ambition or skill; thus, Ape evolves into a profound economic study of slacker culture, specifically the inherent ambivalence and naive expectations of that world. Trevor grows increasingly irrational once his lack of financial responsibility starts to threaten his livelihood. Like a square peg being forced to fit into a round world, Trevor just cannot comprehend the rules of Capitalism and why he needs to be successful in order to survive.