Sunday, April 14, 2024

“AGGRO DR1FT”

THE STORY – In the seedy domain of Miami’s criminal underbelly, a seasoned hitman embarks on the relentless pursuit of his next target. Shot entirely through thermal lens, he navigates a twisted world where violence and madness reign supreme. Tensions unravel, leading to a psychedelic journey that blurs the lines between predator and prey.

THE CAST – Jordi Molla & Travis Scott

THE TEAM – Harmony Korine (Director/Writer)

THE RUNNING TIME – 80 Minutes


There is something, one supposes, that can always be appreciated when it comes to a filmmaker like Harmony Korine. His work is created with a distinct purpose of being divisive. It is meant to provoke a strong response in a way that a lot of art is not designed to do on such a visceral level. There is an issue with the lack of tenacity that some artists have in challenging an audience and bringing them to legitimately analyze what it is they have witnessed. Having said that, simply embracing such intentions does not inherently bring value to any work. It still must be engaging on a level that’s worthy of exploration. For Korine, he has made it a mission to create films that don’t hold a viewer’s hand and guide them to a safe destination. That is absolutely the case with “Aggro Dr1ft,” a highly experimental piece that is challenging for all the wrong reasons.

The plot, such as one can attempt to describe it, centers on a hitman living in Miami by the name of Bo (Jordi Molla). This is a man who is on an endless rampage, consumed by forces of evil that manifest as demonic imagery around him. He indulges in the havoc as a means to provide for his family, an intense love that keeps his insanity from totally taking over. Still, the violence is an all-consuming power. As he dives deeper into the carnage, the fractured state of the world does as well. There is a greater malevolent energy that needs to be eliminated, and Bo must do so before his own demons destroy his soul.

This film’s most notable element is that it is shot entirely in infrared, giving it an incredibly distinct visual aesthetic. The color palate is meant to be evocative of the nightmarish world in which these characters exist. Occasionally, people’s faces will contort into deformed images of mechanical structures or skeletal frames, adding to the altered reality that engulfs this strange universe. This might be what best suits the infrared format. The visual effects are crude, but they mesh seamlessly into a distorted reality in an almost complimentary way. The visuals are a unique presentation that is way more inviting than the oppressive sound design, which is so loud and obnoxious that it is far more alienating.

However, Korine still struggles to craft anything captivating on a level beyond the excitement of a unique filming format. It’s an issue that’s been present for some time in his filmography, but the absolute juvenile approach to storytelling feels so much more profound. The dialogue is delivered in quiet spurts, embodying the soldier with his own philosophical ideologies. The problem is that these observations are shallow and pedestrian. It seems that Korine has not developed his narrative interests beyond the realms of a teenage boy obsessed with the violence and pseudo-intellectual beliefs of assassins. It becomes obvious that these efforts are incredibly childish.

That, more than anything, is what makes the film so frustrating to endure. The filmmaking never feels like it justifies its look beyond simple novelty, but there is a way to rationalize such a decision to provide further color to the landscape, literally. However, that does not excuse the utter lack of depth of these characters and themes. Even for works that reject traditional story structures, the deeper meaning behind the ideas is what must be prioritized. One can’t appreciate the characters because it’s impossible to judge Molla’s performance through the hazy fog, and the motivations are very broad. The thematic commentary only treads the surface, revealing nothing about the nature of bloodshed on any meaningful level. His depiction of Black characters, particularly women, continues to feel problematic in how they are hyper-sexualized, with very little reason for their existence beyond that.

The film has a brief appearance from Travis Scott as a leader of some kind of otherworldly force, and it’s rather apparent that most of these scenes feel improvised. One makes a note of this because it feels like a scrappy effort to collaborate with many individuals without much thought of what the scene should communicate but will instead be elevated by the altered state of the filming process. It may be unique, but “Aggro Dr1ft” is hardly innovative beneath the surface. It just ends up exposing Korine’s own flawed and immature philosophy, which is unbecoming for a man who just turned fifty. He may still want to shock and divide audiences, but his voice has shown no maturity since his rise almost three decades ago, and patience is wearing thin.

THE RECAP

THE GOOD - The film's infrared photography allows for a unique visual aesthetic and works best when employing computer-generated effects.

THE BAD - The plot's thin structure does not leave any interesting characters or themes to be explored. The commentary is all on the surface, revealing itself to be incredibly juvenile. There's no way to appreciate the performances.

THE OSCARS - None

THE FINAL SCORE - 3/10

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Josh Parham
Josh Parhamhttps://nextbestpicture.com
I love movies so much I evidently hate them. Wants to run a production company.

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<b>THE GOOD - </b>The film's infrared photography allows for a unique visual aesthetic and works best when employing computer-generated effects.<br><br> <b>THE BAD - </b>The plot's thin structure does not leave any interesting characters or themes to be explored. The commentary is all on the surface, revealing itself to be incredibly juvenile. There's no way to appreciate the performances.<br><br> <b>THE OSCARS - </b>None <br><br> <b>THE FINAL SCORE - </b>3/10<br><br>"AGGRO DR1FT"