Starring Florian Brozek, Trey Cole. Written by Florian Brozek. Directed by Malcolm Murray. 96 min. Screens Aug. 1, 9 p.m., at Double Double Land as part of the Refocus series.
What’s truly strange—and largely delightful—about the set-in-Albequerque indie Bad Posture is that it manages to tell us a story we haven’t heard before while making it seem like almost nothing is happening at all. Where so many films by first-time filmmakers strain to impress right out of the gate, Malcolm Murray’s narrative-feature debut gives the impression that the director is barely lifting a finger.
Or maybe he just has a light touch. Although it’s set in what could be charitably called a criminal subculture, Bad Posture is utterly amiable. Its blockhead protagonists pose no real threat to anyone but themselves, even when they come into possession of an AK-47. Flo (Florian Brozek, who also wrote the script) and Trey (Trey Cole) are BFFs and small-time hustlers whose relationship consists mostly of trading profanities and looking for shade from the noon sun.When Flo chats up a cutie (Tabatha Shaun) at the local duck pond, it’s clear that he’s looking for another sort of relationship. Trey immediately undercuts him by jacking the girl’s car and purse. This act of theft kick-starts the story (such as it is), but the narrative is less interesting and complex than the intimations of betrayal and entrapment that start to infect the pair’s friendship—especially when Flo starts thinking about finding a way to return the stolen items.
Murray sprinkles the film with some arty moments that clearly belong more to the director than to the characters (for example, using soaring opera as the soundtrack for shots of wayward graffiti artists tagging an empty house), and sometimes his dialogue is too bluntly on point. But, working as his own cinematographer, Murray gives Bad Posture an authentically sunbaked sheen and a wonderful, lived-in sense of place—the sort of perceptive, genuinely affectionate portrait that too often degenerates into regional caricature. Here it stays believable, honest, and funny throughout, and so does Bad Posture.