Following in the footsteps of Amazon and Netflix, Snapchat has joined the ranks of tech innovators trying their luck in feature films with Our Story: A Snapchat Original Film, a bizarre look into the fears and desires that define the millennial generation. Our Story is an unforgettable and undeniably original film, setting the bar pretty high for any future cinematic endeavor Snapchat may undertake in the future.
I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to watch Our Story in a movie theater, as I chose to see it merely due to my loyalty to the Snapchat brand. Imagine my surprise when midway through the movie, the frame flipped from horizontal to vertical. The ushers had to shuffle up to the screen, pick it up and turn it on its side to accommodate this daring cinematographic choice. They executed the maneuver with admirable grace and in perfect coordination with the projectionist who rotated the projector simultaneously.
But enough with all the technical mumbo jumbo. Who really cares about cinematography, editing, or special effects? What makes or breaks a film is the narrative content, also known as the story or in this case, Our Story. Given the choice of possessive pronoun in the title, I should have known Our Story would be a twisted omnibus of ingeniously intertwined tales set deep in the underbelly of the City Of Angels (LA is home of Snapchat’s corporate HQ).
Some may call Our Story a ‘coming of age drama,’ but it’s really more of an ‘everyone of all ages cumming all the time drama’. Our Story now holds the record of most orgasms in a movie beating Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac: Vol. II by at least forty orgasms. This movie truly earns its NC-17 rating, so leave your babies, tots, toddlers, and regular old kids and tweens at home when you go see this one.
What separates this movie from a straight up porno is the awe inspiring acting from an extraordinary ensemble cast. Making a startling and truly breathtaking acting comeback is the one and only ‘Amanda Bynes,’ reviving one of her greatest characters of all time. One of Our Story’s interconnected tales concerns Penelope Taynt, from the highly acclaimed sketch series ‘The Amanda Show.’ Bynes resurrects Penelope with such ease and rejuvenating energy, it feels as if fifteen years hasn’t gone by.
However, what astonishes me most about Our Story is not the shift of frame, nor the parade of explicit sex scenes, nor even the appearance of Penelope Taynt. Rather, it’s the filter choices portraying the disturbed subconscious of the villainous Spider Jones (Funnyman Eric Andre). Without the flower crown filter appearing repeatedly on various characters’ faces, I don’t think I would have been able to travel as far into the darkness of the Spider Jones’ sick mind as I did. And the face swap filter made the movie uncommonly surreal. At times it almost took on the texture of sci-fi, and come on, who doesn’t like a bit of sci-fi in their weird, artsy sex movie?
Our Story is difficult to watch; it will rub you the wrong way; it make you laugh, cry, scream and shout; it will get you all horned up, it will implant a bottomless pit of anxiety in your stomach; it will fill you with dread and initiate an existential crisis that may lead you into a full blown nervous breakdown. But somehow, just like the “the Entertainment” which serves as the crucible/macguffin in the very long book Infinite Jest, you CANNOT look away from it for even a second. (Let’s just hope you don’t die from watching it. HA-HA.) It’s better than any snapchat story you’ve ever seen because it ain’t no My Story, it’s Our Story and I’m fully confident it will win every award and appear in quite a few BuzzFeed listicles and quiz-type things. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one.
What the rest of the critics are saying:
“David Lynch wishes he made this film.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Richard Linklater wishes he made this film.” – Wallpaper Goldstein, New York Post
“Gasper Noe wishes he made this film.” – Amy Nicholson, MTV
“Miranda July wishes she made this film.” – Alison Willmore, Buzzfeed
“Rick Alverson wishes he made this film.” – Latasha Abraham-Peri, Village Voice
“Lars Von Trier wishes he made this film.” – Greer Trier, indieWIRE
“Harmony Korine wishes he made this film.” – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
“James Franco wishes he made this film.” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com
“David Gordon Green wishes he made this film.” – Doug Benson, Doug Loves Movies
“Thornton Wilder wishes he made this film.” – Nathaneal However, Guernica Magazine
“Caryl Churchill wishes she made this film.” – Legs Lavish, New York Observer
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