Survival Skills

Survival Skills ★★★½

"I'm not saying that every person is terrible but, as a group, people are just a nightmare."

This takes a lo-fi, Reagan-era training video approach and aesthetic and wills its own goofy amateur actor into existence, adopting a purposefully absurdist hybridization of reality and unsettling fictitious quirks. Exploits this officer's naivety for cringeworthiness but this is deeply cynical about the shitty state of the world we live in and how it's absolutely no place for niceties. Obviousness of commentary on how it's better to remain distant or dissociative than to get emotionally involved (in Jim's position especially) is partially forgivable because - let's face it - sometimes your good intentions don't mean shit in the face of cyclical tragedy and despair, and I promise the harsh repercussions will beat you to your knees until you throw in the towel. Excessive fourth wall stuff's exhausting after a stretch but Keach is always a pleasure and Vayu O'Donnell's performance is one of the year's best.

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