Written by: Kyle Patrick Alvarez (based on the essay by David Sedaris)
Directed by: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Starring: Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, and Corey Stoll
In the beginning of “C.O.G.” we meet a young, disenchanted man named David (Groff) who is traveling from his home in Connecticut to work on an apple farm in Oregon. It is easy to tell from the get go that David is a bit of a lost soul, not sure of where he belongs or what he should do next. Like many young people, he covers his uncertainty with a smug attitude and a dry sarcasm.
The film centers on his encounters with many different people. In each new situation, he attempts to fit in and adopt the attitudes and lifestyles of the people he is around. Through a series of failed attempts to belong and “Live like real people”, he learns that most people will let you down and only allow you to live in their world as long as you fit their purpose. He stubbornly tries new surroundings, changing his interests and even beliefs, but ultimately cannot find any happiness without knowing himself.
This film is not for everyone, and I like that about it. Writer/ director Kyle Patrick Alvarez had many chances to take the easy way out, and give his protagonist a happy ending, but he never does. The mood of the film is a bleak one, much like the “What do I do now” feeling that many post-grad young adults have. Life is not easy and people, by and large, are selfish and cruel. These are the themes here, and you are left with a somewhat melancholy feeling after the movie ends. I am okay with that.
All of the acting is first rate, and the setting of small town Oregon is the perfect back drop to the story. The score, while not especially diverse, does a good job at keeping the feel of the movie a dark one. Overall, I really enjoyed this movie, and if you like dark satirical films, you will too.