No new film that I’ve seen this year surprises to quite the same extent as Uncle John, a town-and-country, hide-and-seek thriller / romantic comedy-of-sorts that plays like a hungry young artist’s interpretation of Crimes and Misdemeanors. But to even say that could be too much of a giveaway. Here’s a work that relies almost entirely on the audience knowing nothing beforehand, only discovering connective threads along the way — often sitting in confusion, at times frustration, over what we’re seeing and why we’re seeing it. (Don’t worry, though: it’s not a “puzzle movie” by any means.)
But don’t take my word — not when this film has the approval of David Lynch. Says the auteur, who’s just begun production on the new season of Twin Peaks, “The film Uncle John caught me up and held me for days after seeing it. I loved the story and especially loved the performance of John Ashton.” That great turn — along with fine supporting work from Alex Moffat, Jenna Lyng, and Ronnie Gene Blevins — and the work of co-writer and director Steven Piet are on display here — but, again, I’d suggest you go in seeing nothing. If, however, one still needs convincing, there’s a good sampler available.
Watch the trailer below:
Dutch, a small town bully turned born again Christian, has gone missing. John, a loved and well-respected member of the community, is not a suspect, but has everything to do with it. Rumors and theories about Dutch’s fate are main topics of discussion all around town. Dutch’s younger brother, Danny, who shares the family’s bad reputation, has his own theory about the mystery and it centers on John. Meanwhile, John’s nephew, Ben, leads a life replete with snarky jokes and gourmet coffee as a hip Chicago motion graphics designer. His confused and budding relationship with his coworker, Kate, eventually leads them on an impromptu adventure north to see the town he grew up in. They arrive just as John struggles to navigate the increasing threats and pressure from Danny’s suspicions.
Uncle John will hit theaters and VOD on September 18.