The shit-stained humanity of Sasquatch Sunset

Cheeky humor reached its peak in 2010 Jackass 3D, when the boys hurled a frosted port-a-potty 100 feet into the air, and a bungee cord bounced feces splashed all over Steve-O — in glorious 3D, no less! That was it. There was nowhere else to go. At least that’s what I believed.

Sasquatch sunset has turned comedy history upside down.

The new comedy from filmmaker brothers David and Nathan Zellner stars Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough, although you wouldn’t know it without seeing their names on the poster; they are both outfitted in cryptic costumes that hide everything but their eyes. It’s really them, movie stars, wandering through the woods in big, furry prosthetics. Like the monkeys in it 2001: A space odysseythe film’s small pack of four sasquatches are on the cusp of a new phase of evolution as they unlock the possibilities of the world and their own bodies. This leads to them defecating uninhibitedly, making love in public and occasionally stroking their dong. No bodily function remains unused Sasquatch sunsetwhich happens to be a meditative communion with the glorious forest of North America.

Sasquatch sunset is extreme, even for the Zellners, who are experts at thwarting expectations and subverting film styles. Kumiko, the treasure huntertheir biggest breakout, stars Rinko Kikuchi as an office drone from Tokyo who is drawn to Minnesota, ostensibly in search of the bag of money buried in the snow by the characters from the Coen brothers’ neo-noir Fargo. Twisting an urban legend into a fantastical docudrama, the film achieved indie cult status by threading whimsy with tragedy to create a genre-defying odyssey. Their sequel, 2018 Lady, sees Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska and a little horse indulge in the western genre. Although less successful as a commentary, the romp was pure Zellner’s – incredibly funny, experimental and eye-catching. Sasquatch sunset the arc continues, as the brothers both broaden their humor and find a way to be even less accessible.

There’s no dialogue Sasquatch sunset, and little plot. More National Geographic documentary then Harry and the Hendersons, the film follows the four Bigfoots over the course of a year as their senses blossom and their urges take over. The sasquatches of Eisenberg and Keough already have a son (Christophe Zajac-Denek of Twin Peaks: The Return), but the alpha male of the pack (Nathan Zellner) is horny. Through grunts and howls, the hominids negotiate their social norms, paving the way for Keough and Zellner’s sasquatches to graphically, as the Bloodhound Gang would say, “do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.” Keough’s sasquatch becomes pregnant, Zellner’s becomes sexually awakened, and Eisenberg becomes introspective, thinking silently as his companions bang, and staring into the trees as if wondering if there are more of them out there.

Cinematographer Mike Gioulakis breathes life into it Sasquatch sunset‘s quiet silence with its sun-drenched landscapes – the California redwoods are just as much a far away, dude spectacle like the infinity of the night sky. And as research into the dawn of man, which still conflicts with the existence of modern(-ish) humanity, Sasquatch sunset occasionally has to do with something profound about how we came to be the violent, vulgar, curious, loving creatures we all have to admit we are.

Where viewers will vary is in the aggressive punctuation of introspective moments with absolutely profane humor. I’ll never again see Eisenberg’s sasquatch have an explosive diarrhea episode all over the street after eating the wrong kind of berries. Or watching Keough tap her dangling breasts to squirt milk in all directions. Or a live-born sasquatch. The practical effects in Sasquatch sunset are… amazing.

Image: Bleeckerstraat

There is a point to all of this. While Bigfoots live off the land, they know little about their environment. Everything is a “first” in the wild, and the Zellners want us to feel it. How do you eat a fish if you’ve never seen one before? The sasquatches pop a few like water balloons. How to take care of a baby without any instruction? Smack it until it burps. What the heck is a mountain lion? A sex object, at least initially. The Zellners are right to imagine their sasquatches’ survival journey as complete chaos, resulting in failure.

Comments on Sasquatch sunset‘S Sundance Film Festival premiere called it everything from a masterpiece to a complete misfire. I can’t imagine the Zellners would have it any other way; their vision is clear and no compromises have been made in taming the backcountry journey into a whimsical, Disney Plus-ready drama. No, this is how it should be Real are, and the laughs (horrors?) inside might even make Steve-O wince.

Is Sasquatch sunset a good movie? A bad? I’ll say I approve. I wanted to throw up three or four times before the credits rolled, but in an age when even indie films can feel like cheap four-quadrant efforts, what a relief that something this aggressive, sick, and sweet exists.

Sasquatch sunset opens in select major cities on April 12 and expands to a nationwide release on April 19.