I went to see Searchers 2.0 at the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) I really didn't know what exactly to expect — it was billed as a tale of two actors who are determined to confront a screenwriter who mistreated them many decades prior. In essence, that's what it is: two guys get together and discover that both of them are movie trivia buffs, both were in the same movie as child extras, and that both were abused by the director for no apparent reason. They do what any one of us would: they get on the road to seek out the aging director and beat the crap out of him.
The movie itself was made on the cheap and it shows, giving it a Clerks-like feel. Writer/director Alex Cox was obviously a film-buff himself and paid homage to more films that I could identify — his characters believe themselves to be experts in cinema yet are often wrong in their details.
But it's the aura of the experience that makes it so memorable. I got the feeling that it wasn't edited (neither script nor film) all that much which is why it channels a very pure idea — one that isn't necessarily accessible to the audience. There's the idea of a long-dead need for vengeance — and the whole unnecessary-ness of it all. There's also a romantic view of the solitude of the road trip shared among its participants. And, of course, a love of movies and movie-making.
Anyway, producer Jon Davison was there in person — a jovial character who was ecstatic to see his film with an audience, and who temporarily suspended his retirement to make this film. After the screening, he was joined by Jim Healy and Alex Cox (by telephone [which actually worked pretty much fine, much to my surprise]) for question-and-answer. There really wasn't much in the line of questions — Searchers 2.0 doesn't leave one with questions.
It's just more of an uneasy feeling that maybe you should go back and watch what you saw one more time … not for any specific reason, though. And for that reason, I think Searchers 2.0 is going garner a cult following.
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