Magazine article Screen International

'Aardvark': Tribeca Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Aardvark': Tribeca Review

Article excerpt

Zachary Quinto produces and stars alongside Jon Hamm in this tale of family dysfunction

Dir. Brian Shoaf. US. 2017. 88 mins

It?s hard enough to be a schizophrenic, but it?s even harder when your therapist is sleeping with your dazzlingly handsome estranged brother - or are you just hallucinating? Aardvark has an alphabetically-savvy title that can?t help but put this feature debut by Brian Shoaf at the top of some lists. And having Zachary Quinto (who produced) in the cast along with John Hamm could get Aardvark the initial attention that independent filmmakers covet. Hitchcock?s Spellbound meets earnest Sundance sentimentality in this four-hand drama about sibling estrangement and childhood memories. Yet Aardvark plays like a low-budget theatre piece, and often looks like one.

Josh (Quinto) is in therapy and he needs it. He?s barely employable, but he has a more serious problem. He sees his estranged brother, Craig (Jon Hamm), in people who accost him in the street. For his hallucinations and other ills, he receives therapy from Emily (Jenny Slate), a dutiful practitioner. But when Emily meets the older brother, a famous heart-throb actor, she is unable to resist the temptation to sleep with him.

Conflicts rage as the brothers fight with the past and each other through Emily. And Josh can barely connect with the pleasant Hannah (Sheila Vand), a well-meaning stranger whom he encounters. The drama sets up a psychological dead end, with doleful strings tracking the emotions. …

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