SXSW 2017: “Infinity Baby” Review

This little independent gem was a pleasant surprise after watching a few blockbusters that did not live up to the hype.  Shot on a shoestring budget in Austin, “Infinity Baby” is a black comedy about babies that don’t age and the absurd business venture that follows.

Kieran Culkin and Noël Wells in Infinity Baby | Phot credit: Matthias Grunsky – Director of Photography

By “black,” I mean some of the topics may not be suitable for a younger audience, and it was also filmed in black and white.  When asked about the choice not to use color, director Bob Byington elaborated on it when asked after the screening.  Not only was it a choice to outline the fact the film is set in the near future, but to also highlight the lack of emotional depth of many of the characters.  As a low budget filmmaker myself, I also appreciated his response about how the choice to use black and white also kept costs down by not needing a colorist or numerous lights for production.  I will say black and white shot digitally has an entire different “feel” than film, and in this case it works.

The acting in the film was spot on.  I had never seen Trieste Kelly Dunn in a role before, but she stole the show.  Nick Offerman and his wife Megan Mullally (Co-Producers) contributed greatly in supporting roles with laugh out loud deadpan performances.  I will admit that Kevin Corrigan is one of my favorite unsung actors, but his cold hearted alcoholic character exemplified what a black comedic actor is supposed to be.  The only performance I was put off by was Kieran Culkin.  I have seen his other work and thought he has done fine in other roles.  In this case, I was annoyed by him and frankly found him a little hard to watch on screen.  After digesting the film, I realized that it was not his performance I disliked so much, but his character.  In that regard, he had a performance that should be commended.  Even some of the smaller ones, like the one played by upcoming local Noël Wells, were fantastically written and executed.

While the film deals with a small number of babies who don’t age, it truly examines the humanity of the adults surrounding them.  The “evil” corporation that is reverse renting these babies out to people reflects the problems we see with capitalism.  The callous, heartless actions of the employees toting these babies from one caretaker to the next is sad and hilarious at the same time.  The desperation of people wanting to experience a child forever is disgusting and chuckle worthy.

The relationship hopping by Culkin’s character from one girl to another, minutes after each other, makes fun of our modern online dating tendencies.  The movie delves into these aspects of modern life deeply, yet keeps the comedy timely so you don’t feel that it is trying to hit you over the head with a message.  At the end, you actually get some warm and fuzzy emotional conclusions that make you feel better about laughing at all of the sick humor earlier.

Bob Byington discussed how Trieste got her role because of her laugh.  It is infectious and I can’t wait to hear it again.  When you see this film, I’m sure you’ll laugh as well, as long as you’re a little twisted like me.

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