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Slamdance 2022: “Retrograde”


Rating: 5 out of 5.

When we face a difficult situation, a challenging one, the one that may begin to question our morality, helps us to build our character. It shows our true colors, who we are and what we are made of. Only during those pressing times, we reveal what we are capable of as human beings. And so far, what I just saw in Adrian Murray’s brilliant “Retrograde” – none of us would ever want to have such a strange encounter.

Molly (scarily good Molly Reisman) gets pulled up by the police officer during a failed merge on the highway. She is with her friend Gabrielle. After being questioned, she was given a ticket for careless driving and fined $300. Molly is determined to dispute the ticket and the fine, gets obsessed with it so much, she no longer can work with full concentration, threatens her relationship with friends, and turns into, more or less, a delusional person with whom no civilized conversation is possible.

Adrian Murray wrote, perhaps, the most interesting and original screenplay of a story that shapes the personality of one woman that literally does not want to admit guilt. With a narcissistic personality, self-obsession and lack of morality, the woman embarks herself into a quest against the system that is willing to cooperate with her only if Molly would notice that. Fully confident, she rejects a generous offer from the police department to settle with a $50 fine only. However, Molly refuses to pay the revised amount because it meant admission of offence she did not want to admit.

The whole situation Is surreal, quite frankly. With the running time of one hour and thirteen minutes, I felt it was deliberate torture watching Molly’s meltdown each time. It was not healthy or necessary. It was all about self-destruction. But because of a solid performance by Molly Reisman, you will spite Molly to the point where you want to yell at her – come on girl, just go pay the fine and move on.

There is so much to learn from Molly of how not to act when you get a ticket; disrespecting friends, taking work for granted, and the help you receive that may not come to us often. Being accountable for our own actions is an important skill for self-development, which Molly clearly lacks. She thinks she is right and she can outsmart the system. Maybe she could do it under different circumstances. But based on what you will see, there’s no way she will learn from her mistakes. And when the conclusion of her journey comes, the only question you would want to ask her is was it really worth it?

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