Bombay Beach

Review by Alexander Capes

Directed by

Alma Har’el

Starring

Benny Parrish CeeJay Thompson

Anticipation.

Promising looking documentary with original music by indie poster boy, Zach Condon.

Enjoyment.

An enjoyable but quietly unsettling trip to the fringes of the American dream.

In Retrospect.

Drifts in and out of reality and leaves your head somewhere in between.

Alma Har’el’s dazzling documentary is an unlikely trip well worth taking.

Alma Har’el’s dazzling documentary follows three generations of inhabitants in a once prosperous locale by the Salton Sea in California. The good times and tourists have long since left town, leaving a community balanced precariously on the fringes of the American dream.

There is much that is bleak here – dead fish litter the beaches, the adults drink heavily and young protagonist Benny’s hyperactiveness is remedied by dosing him up with so many drugs he starts having serious fits. However, Har’el’s film finds an uplifting beauty through dreamlike choreographed dance scenes and Benny’s wild flights of fantasy that bring to mind the young boy in Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where the Wild Things Are’.

Add to that an original soundtrack by Zach Condon of Beirut and some choice cuts from Bob Dylan, and Bombay Beach is an unlikely trip well worth taking.

Published 2 Feb 2012

Tags: Alma Har’el

Anticipation.

Promising looking documentary with original music by indie poster boy, Zach Condon.

Enjoyment.

An enjoyable but quietly unsettling trip to the fringes of the American dream.

In Retrospect.

Drifts in and out of reality and leaves your head somewhere in between.

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