The Nowhere Inn finds Annie Clark, A.Ok.A. post-modern guitar shredding pop star St. Vincent, and Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia and Sleater-Kinney fame transferring their collaborative efforts from music to movie. Initially premiering in January 2020 on the Sundance Movie Pageant, the movie is now obtainable for lease or buy on Apple TV and different streaming companies. Written by Clark and Brownstein and directed by first-time filmmaker Invoice Benz, the fake tour documentary examines artwork, identification and fame and in addition contains the occasional stay St. Vincent efficiency.
Opening Shot: A white stretch limousine races down a desert freeway. Within the again seat sits Annie Clark. The limo driver says he doesn’t know who she is. “That’s OK,” Clark replies politely, “I’m not for everyone.” He interrupts her a second later, saying, “Hey, I referred to as my boy. He’s in a band. He says he’s by no means heard of you both.”
The Gist: Annie Clark is St. Vincent and St. Vincent is Annie Clark … however then once more, is she? What begins as a tour doc turns into an existential examination of artwork, the artist, inventive management and even actuality. Bugged out proper? The Nowhere Inn’s promotional supplies confer with it as a “metafictional characteristic” and whereas it’s solely scripted, there are a number of truths working via its faux narrative.
After a David Lynch-ian intro, Clark stares into the digital camera like a felony being interrogated. “Why was the film by no means accomplished?,” she says. “All I can say is someplace alongside the way in which issues went terribly mistaken.” Issues begin easy sufficient; Clark asks “greatest pal” Brownstein to direct a tour documentary that can “strip away the layers” and present who she actually is.
Because the tour and movie progress, nonetheless, each filmmaker and topic are upset on the disconnect between St. Vincent, horny latex carrying alt-rocker, and Clark, the considerate artiste who eschews backstage debauchery for recent greens and video games of Scrabble. Brownstein asks Annie to be extra like her stage persona, to be “extra fascinating,” and in doing so, unleashes a monster.
As Clark dons sun shades, begins smoking and indulges in intercourse tapes and primadonna habits, Brownstein loses management of the movie, her pal and her sense of actuality. The band tour bus turns into a dance membership the place everybody wears angular St. Vincent wigs. “We’re on this collectively,” Clark tells Brownstein. “Are we?,” she asks in return. “Um hmm,” Clark purrs, “Me and me.”
Fantasy and actuality intersect in beguiling methods. Clark phases a faux household reunion in Texas. “That is who I’m,” she says. Later, Brownstein blindfolds her and brings her to the jail the place her father is incarcerated in an effort to provoke an actual response. Clark did, actually, develop up in Texas and her father did time for fraud. “That’s why I make music, to get away from this,” she cries to Brownstein, gesturing to the jail. “However you may’t make the entire thing up and anticipate folks to purchase into it,” says Brownstein, echoing countless inventive debates over artifice and authenticity. “Properly then I wish to make one other type of movie,” is Clark’s response. Certainly, she has.
What Motion pictures Will It Remind You Of?: The Nowhere Inn attracts inspiration from previous mockumentaries, rock docs, and indie cinema. This Is Spinal Tap is definitely a touchstone whereas an ongoing bit about writing a track mid-tour concerning the tour remembers 1982’s One other State of Thoughts, an precise tour documentary about two hapless punk bands crisscrossing America. Clark’s interior battle together with her St. Vincent stage persona echoes Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and the premise of a film about making a film has many precedents however on this case most intently resembles 1995’s Living in Oblivion, that includes a younger Steve Buscemi. After all, it additionally shares the comedic DNA of Portlandia, with jokes that get exponentially funnier each time you consider them.
Efficiency Value Watching: Annie Clark is ideal in portraying, effectively, herself. Significantly, although, her comedic timing and tone is impeccable and although her efficiency is deliberately mannered, she’s a pure on digital camera and effortlessly shifts between the completely different manifestations of her particular person and persona. She ought to act extra.
Memorable Dialogue: After Dakota Johnson, as herself and Clark’s girlfriend, unexpectedly breaks up with Clark on digital camera:
Clark: “Any more I want extra say in how different individuals are going to behave.”
Brownstein: “It’s a documentary.”
Clark: “OK. Properly then, let’s solely doc issues I can management.”
Intercourse and Pores and skin: Is a intercourse scene between Clark and Johnson scorching sufficient for you? Properly, it’s probably not, it’s performed for laughs and we don’t see a lot although each ladies look nice in lingerie.
Our Take: Like David Bowie, Madonna and Prince earlier than her, St. Vincent’s inventive arc has been one among fixed reinvention. And like them, she has now efficiently bridged the precarious hole between music and movie. Her music is without delay difficult and accessible and so too is The Nowhere Inn, packing huge concepts right into a comedic-thriller however by no means disappearing up its personal ass.
Curiously, in making a fictitious story about St. Vincent, the artist, Brownstein and Clark have created a piece that reveals as a lot concerning the human beneath. When Brownstein says close to the tip of the movie, “I don’t know who you might be anymore,” Clark responds, “I do know who I’m. What does it matter if anybody else does?” Highfalutin notions of identification apart, the movie finally succeeds as a result of it’s effectively written, effectively acted and visually arresting.
Our Name: STREAM IT. The Nowhere Inn’s charms are many and can attraction to each St. Vincent and Portlandia followers. The place so many movies aspire to easily entertain us, Clark and Brownstein have created one thing that provokes thought in addition to laughter.
Benjamin H. Smith is a New York based mostly author, producer and musician. Comply with him on Twitter: @BHSmithNYC.
https://decider.com/2021/09/17/the-nowhere-inn-on-vod-review/ | Stream It or Skip It?