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The Plagiarists
by Rose Finlay

Peter Parlow, USA

My first notes on this film are, “This looks like a 1990’s infomercial”. Does that sound intriguing? I guess it could have been in the hands of more adept filmmakers, but in this case the whole thing is just cheesy, cheap, and pretentious. Maybe if the writing had been more proficient, if there had been some sort of humor to be found, or if everyone involved had not taken the whole thing so seriously THE PLAGIARISTScould have pulled it off. Instead it is a baffling conglomeration of unrealistic over-the-top dialogue, horrible stock music, and obnoxious, cardboard cutout millennials talking about things they have clearly no understanding of.

I’m sure everyone involved with this mess thought they were doing something great. It tackles the topics of art, plagiarism, dude-bro culture, millennial existential crises, racism, airbnb, and nostalgia. So hip! So modern! And by tackles, I mean brings up the topics, discusses them in the most astoundingly uninformed and yet conceited way, and then hands it off to the audience as if they have done us all some great favor. I get it, the characters are supposed to be annoying, but what are the filmmakers actually trying to say? I guess they’re trying to go for a nudge and a wink, but that never quite lands. The final ten minutes is a voiceover of a character reading a letter talking about how much better the written word is to film. Was THE PLAGIARIST made by the publishing industry as some sort of undercover attack against visual media? Do the filmmakers secretly hate themselves and think their art lesser than literature? Actually, considering the overall quality of the film they might actually have a point. Maybe it’s time for you guys to find a new medium.

It is always impressive when a 76 minute long film manages to feel like agony. It’s so short, it shouldn’t be possible, at least that’s what I always tell myself. And yet, once they went full Meta and referenced how unoriginal and ‘90s the low-fi Sundance movie thing was, I knew that there was no turning back my extreme dislike. There was no way to recover from the nauseating level of pretentiousness the film had forced upon me. So if their overall plan was to demonstrate that film has the potential to be worse than other art forms, I think they might have managed to prove their point.