Strawberry Flavored Plastic (2018)

An intellectually potent found-footage analysis of the line between morality and immorality, this feature-length debut by Colin Bemis functions like something of a cross between Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” and 1986’s infamous classic “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.” Mixing the two approaches – that of an active serial killer engaging two aspiring documentary filmmakers as he continues a long-running spree while waxing philosophical about the implications of morality – could easily have been a tiresome disaster, but instead Bemis clearly had a completed thesis before embarking on the project. The result is engaging, structured and impressively well-acted, in particular by lead Aidan Bristow (who looks like a cross between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Kumail Nanjiani), and while the movie works just fine, it’s most engaging when indirectly addressing the film industry’s demands and how it forces otherwise morally upright people to compromise their ideals to succeed. I wasn’t expecting a psychologically engaging thriller when I watched this but it was a pleasant surprise.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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