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  • Hunter Gatherer | SXSW Review

    SXSW FILM 2016

    By | March 20, 2016

    hunter-gatherer

    Director: Joshua Locy

    Writer: Joshua Locy

    Starring: Andre Royo, George Sample III, Kellee Stewart, Ashley Wilkerson, Kevin Jackson, Antonio D. Charity, Celestial, Alexis DeLaRosa, Jeanetta Arnette

    Recently released from prison, Ashley Douglas (Andre Royo) finds himself living with his mother (Celestial). With no job or friends, Ashley is left to focus on obsessing over his ex-girlfriend (Ashley Wilkerson). But on one fateful day, Ashley meets Jeremy (George Sample III), a kind and generous soul who does not know how to shake people like Ashley. Jeremy is one of those people who volunteers as a test subject for medical experiments — the current one involves electrochemical patches attached to his torso. Oh, and because Jeremy has access to a pickup truck, it is not long before Jeremy finds himself helping Ashley with a dimwitted get rich quick scheme involving refrigerator disposal.

    Writer-director Joshua Locy allows Ashley to start over with a clean slate. Locy does not hold Ashley’s previous crime(s) over his head; we are never told why Ashley was in prison or for how long. As far as Locy is concerned, Ashley deserves a fresh start, although it seems obvious that Ashley is not going to get very far. The audience is left to decide why Ashley is stuck in this existential and financial quagmire — is it societal or psychological?

    In some ways, Hunter Gatherer is about the inherent struggle of uneducated and poor black men, but does Ashley really deserve the audience’s sympathy? Even when Ashley tries to improve himself, such as attending tutoring sessions in the hopes of getting a GED, it is purely to attract the attention of his ex-girlfriend. But no matter how disingenuous of a bastard Ashley is, Locy challenges us to not feel bad for him. (Perhaps this is why Locy avoids the use of profanity in his screenplay.) In Andre Royo’s highly capable hands, Ashley will have no problems winning over the audience despite his despicable actions. Ashley may be a scam artist, but he has a huge heart, and his heart is what Locy really hones in on.

    Locy — the art director on Cold Weather, Prince Avalanche and Manglehorn — captures the dilapidated wear and tear of South Los Angeles perfectly. Hunter Gatherer nails the hopeless tone of Ashley’s world, relishing in the minute details of the unpicturesque atmosphere.

    Rating: 8/10

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