Movie review: Characters carry whimsical ‘Hunter Gatherer’
“Hunter Gatherer,” writer-director Joshua Locy’s first film, tells a low-key story about a handful of neighborhood characters working to make ends meet. It has the whimsical, but grounded feel of Jim Jarmusch’s work and finds beauty in the poetry of the day-to-day of life. It’s a promising debut.
Andre Royo, so great (and so heartbreaking) as Bubbles on “The Wire,” stars as Ashley, an ex-con working to get his life together. Ashley is a hustler who is always looking to cut a corner and make a deal; he’ll borrow money from you and get someone else to pay it back. It’s just the kind of guy he is.
Ashley makes a new friend in Jeremy (George Sample III), whom he takes on as a partner in no small part because of his access to a pickup truck. Together they start a side-hustle to dispose of old refrigerators, an ill-conceived plot that earns Ashley some quick cash up front, but which leaves him with a bunch of refrigerators piling up around him. He only thinks about the short term, never the big picture.
Locy has a knack for giving his characters heart; they’re good people you want to see succeed despite their circumstances. Ashley pines for an old girlfriend, but can’t see she wants nothing to do with him, and Jeremy makes himself a medical lab rat for cash payouts. They’re strictly in survival mode.
Like his characters, Locy’s good intentions and optimistic worldview take him only so far, and he struggles to find a fitting capper for his story. But the performances and the characters linger in your mind. The next time you toss out an old refrigerator, you’ll think of Ashley.
Running time: 90 minutes