Movie Review: 'Cosmic Disco Detective Rene'
Indie filmmaking at its finest, this followup to 'The Secret Society for Slow Romance' is one charming comedy.
I tend to never give up on a movie, even and especially after the initial viewing. It’s always best to consider and re-consider thoughts on a given film. Now, if there’s a certain spark of something special, something that tickles and chills you nicely and stays around long after the film has finished, then that may be enough to warrant high praise. Cosmic Disco Detective Rene and the Mystery of Immortal Time Travelers has that something special, that very spark which tickles and chills all over.
And for those who don’t see or feel that very spark, it’s, unfortunately, their loss.
Roughly ten or so minutes into Director Sujewa Ekanayake’s previous feature, The Secret Society for Slow Romance, I began to understand the style and the language of its story and movements. From the get-go of the sequel, Cosmic Disco Detective Rene, I was fully prepped and hooked. An independent sensation, the film is, even in its best of times (of which there are plenty), pretty rough around the edges, so to speak. That is to be expected with such DIY (do it yourself) filmmaking that Sujewa employs and exploits, where snaps and crackles in the audio edits can be heard here and there, or when strangers walk in front of outdoor shots. But, unlike other indies (independent films) that try desperately to over-impress, Cosmic Disco Detective Rene gives specific pause and preference to what some would call “flaws.”
In many cases, I don’t believe that most acts of cinema have flaws - only misinterpretations, either from in front of or behind the camera or from those staring at a screen. With Sujewa’s movie, there’s no mistaking what’s happened and happening. There’s a clarity to its vision that grounds one comfortably, no matter the oddities that occur. Cosmic Disco Detective Rene, in this way for sure, is head and shoulders above more “polished” features, small or large.
In the movie, Rene (Sujewa himself) taps into the waves of disco music that exist all around us - but are rarely perceived - to complete his contracted private detective work, to fix global poverty, and to figure out how best to improve the independent filmmaking infrastructure. He’s a busy guy, with big ideas. His girlfriend, played as attached to any given moment as anyone has ever been by the great Alia Lorae, also ponders things, but in multitudes and multiples. Together, they spend the film walking around Brooklyn, digging on vibes, being inspired, talking into their phones, and taking audio notes. There’s also a time bridge that keeps appearing in the neighborhood, and people appear to be walking and talking in reverse. It’s up to Rene to advise and look into it all, all the while zoning out and going zen.
This would be a slacker flick if the lead characters didn’t have so many projects on their respective plates. Here, we have an unusual and whole picture of a modern New York City bohemian couple, just being creative and loving life from a romantic perspective. What really clicks and stays in my mind is the bizarre and fanciful dialogue exchanges and conversations. One in particular:
“Nuclear weapons in Brooklyn… that might not be good for people.”
"Or most bodegas.”
It’s deliciously weird but caked genuinely with positive performance and cute satire. There are no obstacles in these people’s lives, just projects they haven’t thought up or planned yet. A hilarious triumph, I proclaim.
Cosmic Disco Detective Rene engages because of its indie nature, not in spite of it. Embrace the so-called flaws and explore any accidents along the way - to paraphrase the great Orson Welles, kinda.
Was Orson Welles a time traveler, and did he and Henry Jaglom ever go fishing on the River Styx? I will have to look into it.
More movies should think up such sentences. 4/5
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