2022 Sundance Film Festival Capsule Reviews

Because of the number of films I'm screening at Sundance this year, I'll be doing full-length reviews of some titles and capsule reviews of others. Below is the third wave of capsules.

2nd Chance - Richard Davis is the inventor of the modern bulletproof vest. To prove that his product worked, he shot himself point blank 192 times. Believe it or not, that's one of the least insane things he's done. In this riveting documentary, director Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart) looks at the myth Davis built around himself – that of a man who saved the lives of countless police officers with his invention. Then he deconstructs that myth, exploring Davis's belief in vigilante justice (he offered rewards to cops who assassinated criminals after being shot by them), his sometimes shady business practices, and the origin story he may have completely fabricated. Named after the company he ran, 2nd Chance is an engrossing portrait of a complex, contradictory guy who did one undeniably good thing, then used that thing to justify a lot of not-so-good stuff.

2nd Chance


Piggy - Here's a horror movie with a twist. Sara (Laura Galan) is an overweight outcast who is routinely bullied by a trio of thin, pretty girls. When those girls get abducted by a serial killer prowling the area, Sara sees what happens and chooses to say nothing, because karma's a bitch, right? This Spanish film, which played in Sundance's Midnight section, starts off with a darkly comedic tone and ends with one that's sick and sadistic, not unlike a Saw movie. Those sections are effective, even if they don't quite fit together. The middle section drags pretty heavily, though, leading to moments of impatience with the plot. Several of the ideas in Piggy are chilling, particularly the notion that a bullied kid might try to find empowerment from a psychopath. But despite some good elements, the film as a whole could have been more cohesive.

Piggy


Babysitter - Another Midnight entry was this French-Canadian comedy about a middle-aged sexist named Cedric (Patrick Hivon) who goes viral after drunkenly fondling a female TV reporter following a sporting event. He's suspended from his job as a result, meaning that he has to watch the baby while his girlfriend works. To get around that, he hires a sultry young babysitter, Amy (Nadia Tereszkiewicz). Her presence stirs up a lot of buried sexual frustrations. Babysitter is intended to be a satire of misogyny and the way too many men objectify women. Director Monia Chokri stages the comedy to be as broad as possible. (The movie makes Ace Ventura: Pet Detective look restrained in comparison.) That's a bold choice – one some viewers will really like, although it wore me out after about twenty minutes. Still, credit is deserved for mercilously mocking sexist pigs.

Babysitter