What’s Up Lovely
In the dead of night, a recently unemployed insomniac wanders the streets of New York discovering a city beyond her wildest imagination. Luci loses her job and times are tougher than ever. Unable to sleep, she begins an after-hours journey embarking on a series of strange encounters as she wanders the dark metropolis. During one unforgettable night, Luci comes face to face with her innermost fears and desires as she tries to find her way back home. Based on a concept by Jenn Dees and Gary King, WHAT’S UP LOVELY is a drama about the struggle to survive the city while battling the enemy within ourselves.
It’s a good thing that Gary King had the foresight to cast Jenn Dees at this point in her career, because once word of her range of performance hits the mainstream, this girl is going places fast. Jenn has a vulnerability and emotional range that can be shown with nothing more than a passing glance. She shows off a great personality, and even busts-a-move with some panache mid-movie. I cannot highlight this actress enough. She carries the emotional, narrative, and visual weight of this movie. Jenn plays Luci, a troubled young lady who has trouble sleeping, loves to people-watch, and even follows people around just for fun. Luci loses her job, and a bit of her sanity as she wanders the streets. The voiceover she does throughout the film hints at some deeper issues of loss, and deeper emotional pain that she hasn’t dealt with. In her journeys she encounters many other characters, some good, some bad, and some quite weird.
The camera in this movie moves around, a lot. That is to say the cinematographer, Jason Varner took advantage of the entire range of his camera’s functions, and also used every piece of backdrop and set that was at his disposal. There are times where the character of Luci really stands out from her surroundings, and they seem dream-like and abstract around her. The cinematography is even made more stylized by the creative editing done by the director Gary King. Gary hasn’t wasted one frame of this movie. His portrait of this young woman, her plight, and her surrounds all come together like a jazz ensemble. It’s all over the place, but at the same time fits together in cohesive harmony.
I can’t help but feel bad for some other indie movies in competition at film festivals with WHAT’S UP LOVELY. Gary King has crafted a lean 69 minute tale that was tailor-made for the festival circuit, and if the second and third parts of his loneliness trilogy are as well done as this film, then he has a good shot at achieving cult film status in the indie world, and it will certainly be his ticket into the mainstream directing world. Gary King could very well be the new Kubrick or Gilliam.