24 Exposures Screen 6 articles

24 Exposures


24 Exposures Poster
  • Some half-baked ideas about representation versus reality emerge in the lax improvised dialogue that has become the director's trademark. Swanberg claims to have taken inspiration from the soft-core porno thrillers that premiered on late-night cable throughout the 1990s, which may explain why the prurient sex scenes show greater finesse than those of his other movies.

  • Since Swanberg seems more invested in the film’s languid softcore sex scenes than in interrogating his protagonist’s psyche, the camera-as-mirror routine remains on a facile surface level, and it doesn’t help that Wingard, his goatee notwithstanding, never remotely resembles a person with genuinely creative impulses. At best, 24 Exposures plays like a self-conscious joke, though whether that joke is intended to be on the viewer, Swanberg himself, or both isn’t terribly clear.

  • Is Swanberg pre-empting complaints about his methods by making a film about an artist who is, if not a killer, then at least creepy and unreflective? Maybe, maybe not. But the question will only interest people who follow Swanberg's career. Everyone else will look at "24 Exposures" and see a meandering, indifferently acted thriller that's saying something, but not too clearly.

  • Deconstructions of eroticism and creative compulsion are Swanberg’s stock-in-trade, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 24 Exposures never allows its sex and nudity (it has plenty of both) to titillate. Instead, it either de-eroticizes its T&A by presenting it as work, or contextualizes it within emotional dynamics—among Billy, his girlfriend Alex (Caroline White), and models Callie (Sophia Takal) and Rebecca (Helen Rogers)—that emphasize anxiety over sexual tension.

  • The genre constructs are almost Brechtian in their lack of gravitas and sincerity, but it's an earnest insincerity that both emphasizes and questions the stability of Billy's cocooned, quasi-hedonist existence. Swanberg's methods of mounting a non-genre film with a consciously absurd disintegrating narrative, complete with a needless meta-scene at the end that ensures we understand that the inadequacies are intentional, accomplish something remarkable.

  • In this sleek yet confessional drama by the prolific filmmaker Joe Swanberg, the boundaries of art and life are probed with a knowing yet uneasy directness... The incongruously glossy camerawork (by Adam Pinney) suggests precisely the sort of soft-core saleability that Billy’s—and Swanberg’s—self-revelations skirt. As Billy attracts new models for his work, the movie audaciously displays the fantasies—and, perhaps, the realities—that these women, too, are pursuing.

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