Desperate men can only outrun delusion for so long. Hunter Gatherer measuredly embodies this process via the lives of two fringe characters that mistake treading water for entrepreneurial ambition. Set in a low-income black neighborhood, the film takes on a low-key tone toward issues of poverty and inequality, occasionally mixing in bits of magical realism. Director Josh Locy’s debut is not your typical American indie, even if it might initially seem to be.
When Ashley (Andre Royo) returns from a lengthy prison stint he finds an unfamiliar world that has already moved on. In the opening scene, he frantically calls old friends trying to get them to come over for his welcome home party. Each invite is vehemently rejected. Only Ashley’s mother is present, quietly setting up decorations and putting candles on a cake. It’s a sad scene to be sure.
No one cares that Ashley has resurfaced, not even the supposed love of his life, Linda (Ashley Wilkinson), who’s now shacked up with a new man. While specifics are mostly withheld, it’s clear that Ashley has alienated everyone in his life. Maybe that’s why he jumps at the chance to befriend Jeremy (George Sample III), a fellow roamer whose pleasant demeanor hides a deep sense of anxiety.
Hunter Gatherer, which opens Friday, Jan. 13 at Digital Gym Cinema, charts these two characters as they go from one “fresh start” to the next. Both men find solace and camaraderie during their daily scavenger hunts around the community, even trying to turn a profit by circumventing local dumping policies regarding old refrigerators.
In the moment, Ashley and Jeremy inspire a momentary hope in each other. But that façade eventually wears thin, revealing frayed tatters of broken men who are hanging on by a thread. Royo and Sample III’s great performances both personify this complexity, forming a beguiling odd couple you won’t soon forget.
Burn Country: James Franco and Melissa Leo star in this thriller about an Afghani reporter who becomes embroiled in criminal activity while covering a story in a Northern California town. Opens Tuesday, Jan. 17, and screens through Thursday, Jan. 19, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Hunter Gatherer: When an ex-con (played by The Wire’s Andre Royo) returns home to find the world has moved on, his new friendship with a fellow drifter (George Sample III) momentarily inspires hope for the future. Opens Friday, Jan. 13, and screens through Thursday, Jan. 19, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Julieta: In Pedro Almodóvar’s latest melodrama, a beleaguered woman tries to reunite with her estranged daughter by writing a letter that encompasses the many stages of her life.
Live by Night: Ben Affleck’s 1930s-set vanity project steals from every classic gangster film to tell the story of an ambitious criminal who takes a job in Florida in order to get revenge on the kingpin who betrayed him.
Monster Trucks: High school senior Tripp (Lucas Till) builds a monster truck only to have it become possessed by a speed happy creature. Hilarity and havoc ensues.
Patriot’s Day: This adrenaline-fueled biopic from Peter Berg traces the events leading up to and after the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013 through the eyes of various first responders.
Sleepless: In this action thriller, Jamie Foxx plays an undercover Las Vegas detective who gets caught in a web of corruption and violence after his son is kidnapped.
The Bye Bye Man: A group of college students discover that a deadly supernatural force possesses regular people, inspiring them to commit mass killings.