Sunday, August 1, 2021


I went in to this one mostly blind with an insane amount of excited skepticism after hearing it described as a; “lo-fi Brooklyn version of Inland Empire”. Not in recent times has a blurb about a movie made me simultaneously raise my eyebrows in genuine curiosity (the comparison to Inland Empire) and role my eyes to the back of my head due to the potential pretentiousness of it all (the “lo-fi Brooklyn” portion of the blurb). It’s best to ignore the “lo-fi Brooklyn” portion of the description (just say low budget) and focus on the Inland Empire part. I completely get where the Brooklyn “thing” comes from but these days the Brooklyn description is based off of so many things that have absolutely nothing to do with Brooklyn. Just out of town Brooklyn transplants who have hi-jacked what it means to be “Brooklyn” (as broad as that term may be).
And now apparently these transplants have gentrified criticism as well. 
There’s even some quick commentary on the current state of Brooklyn in Slow Machine:

Christ! What is Brooklyn anymore? Brooklyn is a white toddler in a RUN-DMC shirt!

Anyway, Slow Machine is certainly worthy of a comparison to Lynch’s flawed & disastrous masterpiece, but if we’re being real - it’s roots go all the way back to Persona (where things like Inland Empire, Mulholland Drive & Lost Highway all came from to some degree).

Some scenes are almost set-up like reinterpreted/reworked scenes from Persona in an abstract kind of way.

From super obvious moments…

Persona /
Slow Machine

To maybe not so obvious moments…

Persona /
Slow Machine

Slow Machine is a psychological thriller/disoriented fever dream about an actress in the midst of a mental crisis/psychological break. I’ve oversimplified the film quite a bit but I don’t want to give everything away (the film, which takes us from New York City to hiding out in Upstate New York, has many twists & turns ranging from counter-terrorism to awkward sexual advances & assault all in just over 70 minutes).

But as far as the basic plot goes - it sounds like Persona, right? The same could be said about everything from the aforementioned unofficial David Lynch trilogy to more recent Persona-sploitation stuff like Always Shine & Woodshock. There’s a very meta scene midway in to Slow Machine that comes right out of Always Shine (and real life) where our actress characters are awkwardly interrupted for a selfie…
Always Shine /
Slow Machine

These moments are interesting as I’m sure this is something Chloe Sevigny (bottom) deals with all the time. As far as Mackenzie Davis (top) this is something she probably deals with now having starred in films from the Terminator & Bladerunner franchises. But at the time Always Shine was made, she was a relatively smaller/up & coming actress.

To be honest, there isn’t anything very original I have to say about this that I haven’t already said about other films in this genre (read my thoughts about Always Shine, PersonaImages and the David Lynch trilogy on this blog).
I just wanted to drop a few quick words about Slow Machine mostly because it’s the best new movie I’ve seen this year so far.
I will say that one minor/major aspect about the film that really enhances it is the (intentional?) audio mixing. It’s very jarring and off-kiltered which matches the sometimes jarring and off-kiltered tone of the movie itself. There’s almost this intentional disconnect between the audio (the dialogue, the score and the background noise) and the accompanying video.

Watch this movie. There’s no excuse to skip Slow Machine as you can stream it online. After months of watching stuff like Godzilla vs Kong, Nobody, Mortal Kombat, Wrath Of Man, Conjuring 3, etc - this was a pleasant surprise/breath of fresh air.


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