Antihero (2012) – By Josh Samford

The independent film world has its ups and downs. To judge most of these low budget movies by the same standards that you would hold a blockbuster to, obviously isn’t very fair. However, occasionally a viewer can look at a film and instantly recognize the talent of the filmmakers behind it. Within this field, you have to acknowledge the difficulty of making a movie with no funds whatsoever, then judge the films accordingly. Keeping this in mind, I watched Antihero and found myself pleasantly surprised at every turn. With two leading men who look like rejected members of Die Antwood, this movie seemed as if it might be another "southern redneck" spoof movie, but there’s really much more to it than that. Featuring a plot that manages to organically flow, despite going off on tangents, and with some truly charismatic performances on display, Antihero turns out to be the independent movie that could. Even without money behind it, the filmmakers seem to get almost everything right. The movie features cleverly staged action, witty humor that isn’t reliant on easy jokes, and a cast of very talented young actors, and to top it all off, this is all found in a movie that stars a duo named "Pork Rind" and "Weezie."

Pork Rind (Brian Gartland) is a slacker extraordinaire who lives with his best friend/roommate Weezie (Joe Carlson). These two spend the majority of their days getting drunk, high, hanging out with their slightly more ambitious friend Jhoanna (Ryan Asher), and randomly stealing whatever change they can find in parked cars. After they attempt to break into what appears to be an abandoned home, they find out that it seems as if Pork Rind may actually have psychic powers! You see, Pork Rind is able to sense when a physical object is being hidden. If someone has lost their keys, Pork Rind can find them. If someone has hidden a coin underneath a piece of paper, he will be able to find it. Although this power seems completely ridiculous to most, for a burglar it may turn out to be a blessing. These two are soon hard at work putting as much use to this power as they can, but their lives change forever when they stumble upon Lainee (Nicole Carter). Lainee had attempted to overdose, but thanks to the boys, they were able to find her and save her life. Afterward, Lainee becomes a part of this very strange family. Unfortunately, Lainee has a very dark past and it is likely to come back and haunt this group. With Pork Rind’s superpower, it seems that this trio continually do very good deeds by mistake. Will Pork Rind be able to help Lainee before it is too late?

Performances are decidedly sharp in this movie. Although both of our lead characters so perfectly look the part of redneck yokels, their dialogue between each other is always quite witty. While the two actors could have easily played their roles with fake southern accents and reached for the most typical stereotypes possible, they actually go a route that provides them the opportunity to do something unique. One quick glance at the synopsis for this film should tell any potential reader that no matter what happens in this movie, the results should be quite original. The two leads have great chemistry together, and although they deal with some fairly profane humor, the delivery seems to keep this one above being solely juvenile. Granted, when jokes are being made about how wet a fart may-or-may-not be, the audience can be assured that this deals with some fairly juvenile stuff. The acting and the comedic timing of the two central leads makes up for this though and actually gives some semblance of wit to the project.

Antihero isn’t exactly a cinematic tour de force. Visually, it is a bit on the plain side. This is not a very shocking turn of events, as most comedies (even with big budget studio films) are shot in a fairly mundane manner. That isn’t to say that Antihero is entirely boring in its visual style. The filmmakers attempt to spice things up by including some compelling imagery every now and then. Aside from the epic choices in costume design, which are so garish that they somehow become spectacular, there are also several hand-drawn graphics that acts as interludes between important sections within the film. The filmmakers also attempt to do something special by adding in some interesting camerawork on a sporadic basis. For the most part, the camera is either very static or done in a handheld manner. Surprisingly, there did appear to be a few tracking shots within the movie as well. Continuing with the technically proficient aspects of the movie, the editing is tight and the pace is ridiculously high. Aside from being a very entertaining movie because of its brisk pace, surprisingly the film manages to create some very strong tension towards the back end. The final chase scene is a surprisingly taut sequence that features some nice fight choreography and some genuine suspense. These are not attributes I normally expect to find in the world of independent comedies.

If Antihero has any problems, they usually stem from the no-budget nature of the project. The filmmakers do a nice job of dressing the movie up with color correction, but the budget is still fairly obvious at times. That doesn’t change the fact that I had a really great time while watching the movie. It’s a hilarious mix of sophomoric humor and genuinely smart dialogue that might camouflage itself in jokes about poop and beer, but underneath there is a group of very intelligent film geeks hard at work within this picture. I strongly recommend it, and if you would like to read more about the movie then you can check the official Facebook web page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Antihero/190545841009827