Perhaps best described as an ultra-indie cousin to such arthouse mindfucks as Cronenberg and Lynch, writer/director Trevor Juenger's Coyote is a 75-minute descent into a rapidly disintegrating mind.
Is there anyone in the indie world who does the disintegrating mind better than Bill Oberst, Jr?
When you wrap Oberst's performance around Juenger's visuals and imagery then, just for some kick ass fun toss in Michel Schiralli's magnificently mood setting original music and the spot-on lensing from D.P. Nick Brian Walters, you get a seriously trippy film that haunts you will tickling your thought processes. Walters seemingly over-utilizes a sort of fish-eyed wide lensing throughout the film, yet as irritating as the approach is it fits perfectly within the context of the distortions within Bill's mind. Oberst is Bill, an insomniac writer whose mind is increasingly devoid of anything resembling reality. With hallucinations and delusions galore, Bill slowly spirals downward into a myriad of sadistic thoughts and actions that, as the mind evaporates, become more and more out of control.
In some ways, Coyote brought to mind Cronenberg's most recent film Cosmopolis, an experimental and disjointed cinematic oasis within an altered universe. Produced in the D.I.Y. Kino Movement (look it up!), Juenger's Coyote is written in a way that makes you wonder if Juenger isn't a distant relative of Bret Easton Ellis, the author of such works as Less Than Zero and American Psycho who is either proclaimed an absolute freaking genius or an insane and offensive madman. I lean towards the former, but admit that it's arguable.
Coyote is a reminder of why I absolutely love the indie scene. There's simply no way in hell that Hollywood would ever allow an experimental and relentlessly honest film such as this one to get made. Truthfully, there's an incredibly limited market for this type of film but there is no doubt a market for the film. In fact, American Psycho may be the perfect example of what goes wrong when Hollywood gets their paws on an ingenious but demented script and tries to make it market friendly.
Coyote is what it is. It's a hyper-imagining of madness or insanity or delirium or all of the above. It's a perfect vehicle for the simmering Oberst, who is one of the few actors who can pull off absolute insanity while still making you care about his character. It's a film that flaunts its intentions with reckless abandon and a sort of psychotic glee.
In other words, Coyote is a film practically tailor made for the indie arthouse fest scene. In addition to Oberst's outstanding performance, the film features a lower key yet no less impressive performance from Victoria Mullen and a fine supporting cast.
Coyote had its premiere in Juenger's hometown of St. Louis and is just getting kicked off on the film festival circuit. For more information on the film, check out its Facebook page and be sure to catch it on the big screen where the flipped out visuals and seriously mind-blowing ending will be presented at full frontal effect.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic