Here’s one of the reviews shared by Italian Studies release after Tribeca. The reviews are mixed up, but we hope that it gets picked up soon by a distributor!
In Gimme the Loot and Tramps, writer-director Adam Leon displayed a keen ear for the vernacular of youth and a captivating light touch observing the fluid shifts in his characters from spiky friendship to romantic intimacy. There are plenty of young New Yorkers on hand again in his third feature, Italian Studies, but precious little engagement as they drone on about their fears, frustrations and yearnings. At the center of this supposed reflection on dislocation and connection is Vanessa Kirby, playing a British writer with temporary amnesia in a display of actressy self-indulgence whose charms are far exceeded by its brief 81-minute run time.
Saved to a slim extent by cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz’s dreamy visuals of New York City in the pre-COVID summertime and by dependably mood-enhancing composer Nicholas Britell’s shimmering score, the film trades the agreeably limber storytelling and seeming spontaneity of Leon’s previous work for a narrative both aimless and inert. More than anything it recalls one of those “lost weekend” stories about Hollywood celebrities that used to be fodder for late-night comedians in times less sensitive to mental illness.
The spark for the project was the ascending star’s availability and desire to work with Leon. While they were tossing around concepts, Kirby reportedly told the director, “I want you to throw me out into the streets of New York and to challenge me.” Apparently, making it interesting for the rest of us wasn’t a concern.
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