If this film intended to drive the viewer to wish all its main characters dead, and then deny the viewer that wish, it is a success. If this film is intended to be anything other than an annoying piece of shit, it is an abject failure. But that’s not to say there are no redeeming qualities in Bellflower: The sound track is flush with proper tunes, and the cinematography is slick and gorgeous. At first, you may care about the trajectory of two young men who have moved to Los Angeles from Wisconsin, and who overuse words like “awesome,” “sweet,” and “dude.” (Not actually as annoying as it sounds; the film convincingly employs the sort of unself-conscious everyday talk that people use when they’re not reading scripts with cameras and lights pointed at them.) But for all writer/director (and lead actor!) Evan Glodel gets right, the shambolic tatters at the end of Bellflower make the ride there seem like a waste. Much is made of the dudes’ penchant for building flamethrowers and apocalypse-ready cars, but that facet of the story line is just a sideshow to what is essentially a relationship drama—a drama in which you fall in love with these characters only to realize what shitty people they are. Then you’re left with the question “Why should I care about what happens to these horrible pieces of shit?” Unfortunately, you’re never provided with an answer, and when the strained ending (“Did it happen or didn’t it?”) finally gurgles up through the work, you’re just glad it’s over, only not nearly as glad as if they’d all died. recommended

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