Movie Review – Loners

TL;DR – This is a film that was on the cusp of being something really interesting but just held back by an inconsistent tone    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Loners. Image Credit: Indie Rights .

Review

Sometimes I wonder if this political science adjacent degree I studied for will be any good in my future and then a political satire falls in my lap. I have a certain weakness for political worldbuilding and counterfactuals and today we have an interesting one to explore.

So to set the scene, in the not too distant future in an attempt to clamp down on the number of gun massacres. The government has created a system where introverts and loners are forced to wear an “L” Band across their heads that monitors them and helps them be better members of society. On top of this, once a week they have to meet for a group therapy session called “Lone-Anon”. Which is where we meet Lincoln (Brian Letscher), Tanner (Tyson Turrou), Ed (David Christian Welborn), Franny (Brenda Davidson), Jeremy (Khary Payton), Dabney (Neil McGowan), and Clara (Denise Dowse). After suffering through group theory sessions led by Mike (Keith Stevenson) they all got back to Clara’s house because they worked out that two hours of close proximity with six people is enough to get the authorities off their backs for the rest of the week. That is until Clara gets grabbed by the feds and Senise (Melissa Paladino) is brought in to join the group and things start not adding up.

Loners. Image Credit: Indie Rights.
It does have issues getting the balance between farce and satire right. Image Credit: Indie Rights.

While this is a movie with an interesting setup, that is that instead of focusing the issue on gun control that the government focused on the ‘lone’ aspect of ‘lone gunman’. It, unfortunately, goes about this in a really ham-fisted and tone-deaf way. In the opening we see a bunch of white people be subjected to issues like stop and frisk a policy that was notoriously used against minorities. Indeed, walking around with government mandated symbols labelling yourself as part of a certain class, can’t help but bring up analogies to World War Two. However, while the film is happy to use this iconography, it does not engage with it in a meaningfully way.

Part of why this disconnect is amplified is through the tone which has issues resonating with the subject material. I know the film is aiming to be a political satire, but it is trying to walk a fine line between using humour to shed light on a real issue and just being farcical. Unfortunately, I don’t think that balance was quite right, especially at the start. One area you can see, or in this case hear, this in is the musical score. I am not sure using a musical score that would also work in a Saturday morning cartoon was the best choice to go with here.

Loners. Image Credit: Indie Rights.
If there ever has been a role Stephen Tobolowsky was born to play, it is the quirky government agent. Image Credit: Indie Rights.

However, while it has a rocky start, once we start to get to know the main cast during the second act, the film starts to come to life. Instead of snarky comments and one-liners, you start to pear behind the façades everyone has up. It is here where you can see the genesis of the movie came from a stage play. It is in these moments that the film finds its voice and the balance it needs. It gives them the scope to be a bit sillier and still have it work because the characters sell it. It also doesn’t hurt that you also have Stephen Tobolowsky here as a quirky government agent, which is the role he was born to play. This is all important because as it all starts to fall apart in the third act I found myself really wanting to make sure that everyone made it out of there. That would not have happened if the movie had not made you care about them.

In the end, do we recommend Loners? Yes, I think maybe I would. Yes, it gets very silly, but after a rocky start, it really comes together. Though to be fair, that just might be me projecting because as someone who consistently goes to the movies by themselves I have a feeling I would have been one of the first to get headbanded.             

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Loners?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
 


Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Loners
Directed by
– Eryc Tramonn
Screenplay by – Neil McGowan
Based on – stage production by Neil McGowan
Music by – Marco Valerio Antonini
Cinematography by – Krystof Anders
Edited by – Lauren Sorofman
Production/Distribution Companies – Loners Productions & Indie Rights
Starring
– Brian Letscher, Tyson Turrou, David Christian Welborn, Melissa Paladino, Brenda Davidson, Keith Stevenson, Neil McGowan, Stephen Tobolowsky, Khary Payton, Michael Monks, Denise Dowse, Matt Riedy, Will Greenberg & Rob Kerkovich          
Rating – Around an Australia: M

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