As a man who often says things he instantly regrets, I can appreciate anyone who is committed to being a mega-douchebag. That takes serious conviction, even in a fictional context. To be a truly deplorable figure, one that is memorable beyond that first viewing — that stays with you well after you’ve left the theater. In the film The Snake, I have found such a character. And he is brought to life by in incredibly dynamic performance by co-writer/director Adam Goldstein.
The Snake tells the story of Ken (Goldstein), a sharp witted, conscious free guy whose sex life is in the dumpster. The reasons are obvious, as he is the kind of guy who won’t go home with a girl because his friends — in a sarcastic way — tell him that the girl is fat. She’s not, and he’s obviously an idiot. Later on, Ken spots a semi-attractive young woman leaving a coffee shop on her way to a body image support group. And because it’s how he rolls, Ken joins up with the group in an attempt to gain access to Talia (Nina Braddock), who we find out has a serious eating disorder. From there it is a series of creative lies — everything from volunteering at a burn unit to being raped by a childhood babysitter — all of which bring him closer and closer to Talia.
What’s beautiful about a film like The Snake is that while it is a relatively rough — or as many call it, “very indie” — production, it delivers a character that works in a very unique and special way. It also presents this character in a very unfriendly, unflinching way. Goldstein, full of wit and underhanded charm, brings the character to screen in a way that will shock, awe and make you wonder whether he’s really like that in real life. Having seen him in Q&A here at SXSW I can attest to the fact that he does not to appear to be a despicable guy in real life. In fact, along with his writing and directing partner Eric Kutner, he seems to be a very talented young filmmaker. They’re talent is so evident that it caught the eye of comedian Patton Oswalt (a favorite of mine), who was on hand to introduce the film.
And with The Snake, they have definitely created a good start for themselves. It is in many ways very “right out of film school,” lingering unnecessarily with certain shots and patchy editing work. But it has enough about it — story, fleshed out characters, performance — to be interesting and worth noting. Its a tell-tale sign that these two gentlemen have a bright future ahead of them. They may have to wear shades or something. If you have the opportunity to check out The Snake and you’re looking for a good laugh, it is worth your time. I wouldn’t sacrifice any limbs to see it, but I would certainly give up another 80 minutes of my life should the opportunity present itself.
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