FOIL Review: Finding Aliens and Restoring Friendships in the Wilderness

Editor, Canada; Montréal, Canada (@bonnequin)
FOIL Review: Finding Aliens and Restoring Friendships in the Wilderness

Like many who think they are leaving their hometown behind in a cloud of dust, Dexter (Zach Green) has found himself returning, somewhat with his proverbial tail between his legs. His big dreams of a indie film career in Hollywood have amounted to little more than directing a porn under a pseudonym. When he runs into his old high school friend Rex (Devin O'Rourke), their very different paths are temporarily converged when they decide to take a trip to the desert, to a place that for Dex, was inspirational, and for Rex, means possibly finding aliens.

An alien conspiracy, you say? In the California desert? Not an original concept, perhaps, but Foil is more about poking gentle fun at familiar ideas and tropes, at a somewhat light-hearted yet honest look at how friendships alter and people diverge as they become adults. Directed by Green and co-written by him and O'Rourke, it's not the most polished of scripts, and lags often, but there's an enthusiasm and honestly in both its endeavor to document the changing friendship, and at the same time having fun with movie tropes of alien tropes conpiracy theories.

As Dex and Rex make their way to this spot in the desert that apparently is both the convergence of certain magnectic energies (like lay lines) that feed the imagination, and where Rex got lost and believes he was probed by aliens on a school trip, it's clear that whatever connection the two might have had as kids was just that - as kids, when playtime is the major component of your life. Rex has settled into that small town American life where he wears a ballcap drives a truck, and believes that the government lies about a lot of things. Dex likes to think he's smart and imaginative, when really he's just another Tarantino wannabe whose ideas amount to little more than 'what if the bug was REALLY big?'

Green and O'Rourke are clearly writing much of this conversation, from a mixture of imagination and personal experience. On the one hand, this works: these feel like real people that we have met before, and when the conversation gets honest, it feels like one you might eavesdrop on in a café. But, like any personal conversation that you're not a part of it, it also gets dull. If you were eavesdropping in a café, you could just ignore those less interesting moments.

Despite its frequently pacing problems and desperate need for script trimming, when the story is poking gentle fun at its wannabe indie filmmaker, its small town conspiracy hound, and the fact that both of them kind of turned out to be right, there's a lot of enjoyment to be had. Nerding out over what makes a movie great, arguments over which friend is doing most of the work in the relationship, and the dirty things we often do for said friendship, it has a great 90s nostalgia vibe.

Foil is rough around its edges, but it has a good heart and a healthy dose of good-natured self-reflection, with a clever spin on alien conspiracy theories, and how friendships can get lost and found again in those awkward post-high school years.

Foil will release on demand in the USA on Friday May 10th, from Cranked Up.

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Devin O'RourkeFoilZach Green

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