I would not be lying if I said that I have been less-than impressed with this year’s low/no-budget releases. For every one review that I put up, there is a slew of boring, uninspired releases that I glaze over and (usually) forget rather quickly. I am very excited to report that Androgynym is not one of these disappointing films. In fact, this movie could be one of the best low budget films of 2016. Writer/Director/Star, Nick Iway, delivers a powerful labor of love that explores some heavy themes that most films would never touch. Every scene is deliberate and builds to its highly cinematic conclusion that does something movies never do; make me care about these fictional characters and what happens to them. Most movies would spend more time highlighting the gore and nudity, but Androgynym knows when to pump the breaks and let the story develop. When the horror and shock occurs, you feel every bit of its drama, elevating what could have just been another exploitation rewind. Instead we get a thoughtful drama that is both exciting and relatable.
The film begins by introducing us to our protagonist’s life as a thug for a gangster named Carlos. Things go bad quickly and has to flee town and lay low for a while. When he cannot adjust to his new lifestyle, he looses control and lobs off his penis (in an impressive fit of rage). After his self-mutilation, our lead develops a fast friendship with an employee at a local pizza shop. I will stop at this point, because I would hate to spoil what comes next. I watched this film cold and feel that is the best way to approach Androgynym. What I can tell you is that this is the point where Nick Iway really finds his feet as a filmmaker and you will not be disappointed.
While there is a lot that I love about this movie, there are a few small gripes that I did have. The first act can be a little wonky and hard to follow. As the film progresses, it quickly corrects these issues (especially in the camera work). This is Mr Iway’s first feature film and I am very confident that we will see more quality work from him. What makes this film so powerful is not the technical aspects, but the raw emotion behind the film. This is a brave movie that does not gloss over things like addiction, loss and self identity. In fact, it barrells itself directly at it. There are scenes of extreme and shocking violence, but I hope they do not overshadow the beautiful experience that is Androgynym. This film is currently working on a wide DVD release and you can keep up with its progrss at http://androgynym.com/