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Charlie takes an odyssey through grief during a fall weekend in New York City. His encounters are planned and chance: with a homeless man who sleeps by his building, with a friend who's dying, with the couple who lives (and noisily loves) in the flat above him, with a bartender and a one-night-stand he follows home, and with a tattooed stranger whom he seeks out and befriends. Along the way, Charlie inhabits a city full of moments of violence and of stories and legends: a kidney thief, a microwaved poodle, a rat in a hot dog bun, a baby left on a car top, a tourist's toothbrush, needles in public-phone change slots. Charlie lives and tells his own stories. What caused his melancholy? Written by
Urbania starts out with the protagonist asking us: "Heard any good stories lately?" Next, we see a couple well-known urban legends played out, and this sets the tone and theme for the rest of the film, which starts out to be about a man trying to come to terms with recent past events, while pursuing a potential love interest (but you don't really learn much about this man until the plot unravels.) This movie was so fascinating I watched it twice in one weekend. I rarely do that, but this seems to demand multiple viewings. This is easily the best movie I've seen about urban legends. It utilizes a bleak urban setting to weave this popular folklore with the story of one man's night and the difficult time he has struggling to face his past and gain control of his life. Fantasy and reality are appropriately difficult to separate, just as it is with urban legends. The cinematography is excellent and innovative, the script is tight, the acting is perfect (Dan Futterman is outstanding as the lead), the character development is exceptional. This is quite brilliant, really. Like a David Lynch film, every second, every sound, every word, every image tells you something important. Finally, this is a film that (going along splendidly with the urban legend theme) questions assumptions some groups of of people have about "the other" (and vice versa). My Rating: 9/10.
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