Shut Up Anthony: Review

Shut Up Anthony is a complex film, one that requires an intricate sense at listening to the small details, and appreciating the things that are often not said. Movies like these can often be a beacon for self-reflection. Amongst those films Shut Up Anthony is the self-facing camera on your phone that you unwittingly turn to and are taken aback with. The main character: Anthony (played by Robert A. D'Esposito), after a series of cringe-worthy misgivings, retreats to a family vacation home, talking the whole way. Yet, it’s only when you realize it’s what Anthony does not say do you truly get to the beauty of the film. It’s not easy to find an unlikable main character so relatable as one finds Anthony. Relating to a character like him can hold the uncomfortable truth that from an outside perspective, we can look absolutely absurd and dickish. For that reason, I feel Shut Up Anthony will struggle to be liked by those who do not deal well with self-reflection. Some people just can’t handle the truth.

That being said, the actual depth of each character shows something to be said about Kyle Eaton’s debut film. With an uncompromising eye to both frame and script, Kyle marries outer aesthetic with internal turmoil in a way that brings the characters to life. Tim, played by Jon Titterington, holds the place of being a deep quasi-antagonist; Sparring verbally with Anthony until tensions build to a final confrontation, Tim is both wonderfully typed and dialogued. It is rare to see two male characters talk on end about emotions in the way these two do. Both passive-aggressively and on a deep emotional level.

Besides the two male characters there exists a presence that I feel others fail to touch upon in their reviews. That of the wonderfully rich character of Sam (played by Katie Michels). Sam subverts the typical girlfriend role in this film and refuses to play into a shallow, single faceted stereotype. Instead, Michels brings the depth of a complex and multi-directional woman who knows where the line is, and how to deal with those who cross it. Sam’s character is one who can see the deeper side behind Anthony and his often inappropriate babbling, and yet, knows when the relationship is taking a toxic turn.

Shut Up Anthony is a film to be watched for its deepness in character, realness in the plot, and unique cinematography in all facets. Stay patient with Anthony as so many others do in this film, and you will reveal a deeper meaning to both his absence of words and your own.


Meeting up at The West I interviewed Kyle Eaton to get a take on his Brooklyn Film Festival showing and the future of Shut Up Anthony.

How’s everything been since the showing?

Kyle: Pretty good. We actually won a spirit award! I was pretty surprised. It essentially is a critic's choice that they felt like it best suited the spirit of what the Brooklyn Film Festival was all about. Any additional recognition is really nice, you know? It’s always nice to get a little nod for whatever you produce.

That’s pretty amazing! Where do you think Shut Up Anthony is going next?

I think the film might be going down the video on demand streaming route like everything these days. We’re coming into a time where theatrical releases aren't as common these days. I sort of have to reckon with the fact that everyone wants to view movies on their laptop nowadays. So although we have a festival circuit coming up, the final form might be more digital for at-home viewers.

I read some reviews that didn’t like Anthony, suggesting he spoke too much. How do you respond to that?

Kyle: The root of Anthony’s self-destructive behavior is talking as a way of dealing with his grief. Especially returning to the house where a very traumatic incident took place, is very personal in a way. It stings to know that people would base their entire review on the main character's likability when in all honesty, they're supposed to be a real people that go through real hurt and deal with it in their own ways, not characters who you’d fall in love with but characters who have depth.

I really loved Katie’s character, how did you determine her lines and personality?

Kyle: We were very intentional in working with Katie on this character, that we didn't want her be one-sided and “the girlfriend.” We wanted her to have her own set of beliefs and ways of dealing with things just as any other character in the film. As it ends, we don’t know what really happens to Sam and Anthony but we see her start to take control at the end of the film. Sam has her own demons and her own problems and we didn’t want her to be a cardboard cutout of a traditional role that we so often see in classic film.

Brexit Rant

Mind the Millennial

Another personal rant on Brexit

Persephone is a Greek goddess who spends part of the year as the queen of the underworld and the rest of her time trying to get back. They call me Persephone because I spend most of my year in England and the rest of the time missing my home across the pond. After today, though, that analogy is much more accurate considering England has never seemed more like the underworld than it does right now.

APF

APF

I recently returned to America, right before the Brexit vote, but talk of it has been going on for ages in London. Every day I’d be handed Vote Remain pamphlets by at least two smiling people on the street (a rare occurrence for England) and there’d be countless others wearing I’m In stickers. Groups of American tourists would completely empty them out of these stickers and wear them just for fun, which was a bit irritating because they knew nothing of the actual issue at hand, but they were still spreading the good word. With all this pro-EU sentiment around the country, I just assumed the vote to remain was a given and didn’t dwell on it overly much. All my peers were going out to vote and leaving the EU just seemed like such a stupid thing to do it didn’t seem plausible. I guess in today’s climate, though, it was wrong to assume that people would be decent.

Brexit is happening and the young people of the UK have been let down. It’s bad enough witnessing everything fall apart from America; I can’t imagine what it must be like for all my friends right in the middle of it. Over there, teenagers and college students dream of working in the EU. They once had 27 countries completely open to them to visit and place roots in, but that option has been taken away.

And that’s only the British citizens. My university sent out an email this morning telling us all not to be scared or panic, not because this wasn’t catastrophic, but because everything will take a few years to be finalized so we can save our terror for later. Most of my friends from the EU who study in London had intended to stay in England after university considering they’re learning a British programme and gaining skills that this country desires, but now their right to even stay in the nation for school is tenable. Every one of my flatmates spoke between two to five languages and now their skillsets are just being thrown out.

I am angry and know exactly who I’m angry at. Old people. I know it sounds crass and generalizing to clump together an entire portion of the population like that, but they’re the ones who voted to make this happen. The vast- and I do mean vast- majority of young people wanted to stay in the EU, but the older generations outnumbered them in the polls and ruined it for everyone else. Personally, I don’t think anyone over the age of 65 should be allowed to vote considering it isn’t their future they’re destroying. It has been agreed that the impact of this decision won’t be fully felt for years. They’ll be dead while we, the grandchildren, deal with the consequences of something none of us wanted.

You might be wondering how something so undesirable could be voted in. The main reason is pure xenophobia. Many avid supporters of Brexit are known racists who have used derogatory slurs. During the campaign they weren’t shy about Islamophobia and used anti-Muslim sentiments as one of their fear tactics to convince British citizens to vote leave. I could bog you down with details about how their desire to “put Britain first” has hurt the nation, but instead I’ll just say that Donald Trump thinks leaving was a good idea. That should be explanatory enough.

Money talks. You’d think that the British people would have listened to it and realized that Brexit is ruining the economy swifter than anyone had guessed and will almost certainly lead to a recession. The pound hasn’t been this low in over three decades. It’s almost as low as my spirits at this point, and now I have to learn a new conversion rate when I go back in autumn. Not to mention my entire family is worried about the funds I already have in banking over there and whether I need to send over more money. What else is getting worse? Import taxes, for starters. And now Brits are going to need visas to visit countries which were once open to them. This is just a minor inconvenience, but now my EU friends will have to wait with me in the much longer International passport line at airports. Well, if we can ever go on trips again, that is.

Toby Melville/Reuters

Toby Melville/Reuters

Scotland, which is in a constant state of wanting to be free of England, is now hoping for independence once more because the majority of their population voted to stay in. Basically the rest of the world is trying to run screaming from England because they ran screaming from us. And to top this all off, the man who is partially responsible for all of this, David Cameron, is resigning. The referendum was a gamble for him and he lost so now his time as Prime Minister will end in shame. Living in London proved one thing to me and it’s that he is a very hated man. There was anti-Cameron graffiti everywhere and that man was the butt of many jokes. Regardless, the options of who will replace him actually seem worse. If you think that’s impossible, google Boris Johnson and it’ll all make sense.

All I can think about right now is the future and it looks like a sea of gray. Something out of a George Orwell novel. Surely this is just the musings of fear and all this chaos will die down in time, but right now I’m scared. I’m scared for the UK citizens who currently live in the EU and now are no longer welcome. I’m scared for the EU citizens in the UK who will be fearing deportation. The immigration laws I have to deal with are crazy enough but this is just madness.

In conclusion, send help. England is calling.