Wednesday, 6 April 2016

REVIEW - NASTY BABY (SEBASTIAN SILVA)


A casual soak in reality, the stuff of gossip rags rendered mundane by a most accepting of artistic viewpoints. The dangers and delights of assimilation alike in Nasty Baby, ostensibly a satire of contemporary urban culture, though more fundamentally an indictment of suspicion and segregation of supposed minorities, and the crisis of identity and its assertion that arises from the majority's timid, half-assed attempts at acceptance. What responsibility do minorities bear for aspiring to assimilate, or for refusing to; what responsibility do we bear for enforcing our identities, whichever direction we lean in? This loose, amiable character comedy provides a clean canvas on which to project what meanings we derive from the process of answering its curious questions. It poses these insidiously, buried within a fog of the illusion of nonchalance, and gives few clues even to the presence, never mind the position, of the answers. They're here, but only if you want them to be; they mean only what you want them to, and only if you want them to. If you'd rather not engage with Nasty Baby's sociopolitical streak, it remains an affable, unpretentious indie (about admittedly pretentious people, if only occasionally), running on droll humour and fine performances. And a third act descent into unexpected territory supplies this deceptively rich film with a further layer of intellectual muscle, though if you're here for the good times only, these hard times supply Nasty Baby with enough narrative suspense to keep this lightweight vessel afloat.