Impolex: A Lot of Mumbling at the End of This Rainbow


Impolex (2009) is a DIY nano-indie shot entirely in the Vermont woods, and for a few minutes you think you’ve got your mitts on another filmmaking-as-preteen-make-believe launch into the void, somewhere between the Kuchars and Flooding for Love With the Kid. But hold on: Alex Ross Perry’s film starts dropping clues that it’s got bigger dreams, as the World War II–suited hero Tyrone (slackjawed Riley O’Bryan) searches aimlessly for toy V-2 rockets in what’s supposed to be the forests of northern Europe, and occasionally gabs with a (very real) octopus draped over a log. That’s right, Perry has fashioned a telescoped version of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, complete with ubiquitous bananas, a handmade tarot deck, missions “beyond the zero,” tales of “the Kenosha Kid!,” a V-2 numbered 00000, and so on—the allusions peppered amid the drowsy hero’s meanderings, naps, and cryptic conversations with dreamy strangers (including a nagging femme named Katje). Poking at the 20th century’s densest and nuttiest American mega-novel with the skinniest of sticks, Perry’s movie is a bit of a sleepwalk—nothing much happens, as if it were a daydream the iconic Tyrone Slothrop had between lines in the novel’s “Zone” chapters. This quality, of course, can only be appreciated if you don’t let guileless amateurishness, or chronic mumbling, ruin your evening.