This "Snerdly" fellow seems like my kind of guy, and this movie is about as meta as it gets. We're on the inside of this one as we watch it – we're every bit as much a part of the "Audience" as those you'll see onscreen. You can immediately feel the uniqueness at work here in this film, along with the tongue-in-cheek sense of humor & sarcasm that seems to ooze out of every pore of the characters we see. When the lights go down, and the play begins, a troupe of actors come out to sit in chairs in front of the quirky "Audience" we were getting to know, and they stare straight ahead, expressionless. Let the games begin – are we watching a movie? Is the movie watching us? It's a standoff of sorts, and it's also a harsh reflection of what we're like as human beings in a crowd – "Audience" holds the mirror back up to us and shows us directly how pretentious, crass, rude, and impatient we can all be in a public setting. It's all so brilliantly intolerable. Err…that is… we're intolerable, and this is brilliant.
You will watch people talk over each other, cell phones going off, folks sssssshhhhing others, the harsh reality that no one can be in a social setting without hitting the bar up as much as possible, judgments of others, seeing things that aren't there, faux intellectualism, artistic abstractionism, incompatible personalities, blatant racism, propaganda, the matrix, rebellion, confusion, annoying questions - it is MADNESS INCARNATE, and YOU have actually been a part of everything you see at some point in your life. "Audience" is the perfect reminder of why I've only left the house like... two times in the past decade. Seeing Snerdly get shit-talked in the middle of intermission was honestly f**king incredible. You'll also find the real roots of why a film like this gets made within what he'll go on to say, too, so pay attention. Do manners matter? Does our friend Snerdly have it right? Is life all about following the rules and some etiquette? "I MATTER," he says. "Oh my God… I'm so poorly written. Who the f**k is writing me?" Snerdly is my internal thought process and my spirit animal rolled into one – I love him.
One of the BEST things about "Audience," and believe me, there are many things to love about this movie - but one of the BEST things about it is that it basically FORCES a guy like me to enthusiastically proclaim its cleverness and profoundly groundbreaking ideas, even though that makes me just like any member of the "Audience." We are all a mess of entitlement & opinions and practically nothing more. Which side of the glass are we actually on? Is this heaven? Is it hell? Is it just another day on earth? Groundhog Day? You will ask so many questions along the way as you watch this film, and you should be standing up to cheer it by the end.
Written and directed by Tom Miller – "Audience" is an authentic independent achievement that is like a hybrid between the theatre and film. Stepping into the mind of Miller has made for one incredibly intense trip, and I genuinely feel like he should be taking home some serious hardware for what he's created here. Some of the shots he used throughout this movie were spectacular, daring close-ups that put us right into the seats next to the characters we see, along with shots that would be just like seeing this play live on the stage. Miller should be highly commended for this remarkable flick – but he shouldn't be alone either – this whole cast was impeccable. In particular, shout-outs are deserved for Shamrock McShane (Snerdly), whose facial expressions alone make an enormous contribution to the strength of this film – he couldn't have been any more perfect in this role; it felt like it was tailor-made for him. George Steven O'Brien (Carl) brought a real rebellious spirit to the screen mixed with pure machismo madness - and was also amazing to watch, as was Arleen Wolf (Woman), who played a much more pivotal character than her title would imply. Other notables included Linda (Carolyne Salt), who is essentially that person you know and never want to recognize you in a crowded theatre, Skye Melrose (Gadget Girl), playing the stranger you'd never want to be stuck in a theatre with, and Michael Garvin who clearly branched out far by playing himself in this movie. Mentioning all these stellar actors and characters is not to take away from anything else you'll experience along the way – none of this cast will let you down; they nailed this whole concept perfectly.
From the cold, comfortless confrontation this movie creates in making us consider who we are and what defines humanity to the stunning execution of this concept from start to finish, "Audience" deserves your attention and heaps of high praise – at least in my opinion. This will prove to be a lot for some out there…like, I know my wife and I would have drastically different takes on how good this was, but that's okay! It's our differences that make life interesting, ain't it? Each of us is a member of an "Audience" for someone else, you dig? We never know if we're the good kind or the bad – we just are. I immediately wanted to watch this movie again the second it was finished. I want to share it with someone special like my wife, who might not even get half of the reasons why "Audience" is such a groundbreaking film and seriously f**king cool…I think everyone should experience watching this. It's right up there with the very best I've seen from the independent scene this year in any genre, this much I know. I'm giving "Audience" a strong four and a half stars out of five and cheering for a whole lot more opportunities to open up for Tom Miller; he wrote the living daylights outta this movie, 100%. "Audience" is a film I'll never forget, and certainly one I'll be talking about for a long time.