Prodigal Son, Back on the Farm, in Septien
Never the same movie for five minutes straight, Septien cant sit still. This is a virtue about as often as it seems like faking a seizure for attention. Writer-director Michael Tully plays Cornelius, an exstar jock and the youngest of the three Rawlings brothers, who prodigal-returns to the family farm one day after 18 years of unexplained absence. Cornelius is remote and sullen, earning money as an all-sports hustler, then splurging on malt liquor to chug and spew up in his shrub of a beard. And hes the most restrained of the Rawlings in his neurosisgentle eldest Ezra (Robert Longstreet) is a swishy neat-freak; Amos (Onur Tukel) is a painter whose art brut canvases use boners as their primary motif. In a resolution thats a CBN parody of transcendence, these emotionally constipated men are flushed out by an itinerant preacher (John Maringouin) who arrives to exorcise the homestead, saying the Lord wants us to discombobulate the Rawlings enemies. And Tully wants to discombobulate the vieweroscillating wildly, the movie hits on corncobby regionalism, outsider-art facsimile, self-satisfied weirdness, and an evocation of male squalor that is sometimes quite vivid. At various times, Tully shoots himself to resemble the Unabomber, Björn Borg, or Christ. None of these associations seem to mean more or less than another.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.