My Name is ‘A’ By Anonymous – “As dark, gritty, and disturbing as Mean Creek and Kids combined”
Written and directed by: Shane Ryan
Starring: Katie Marsh, Demi Baumann, and Teona Dolnikova
I feel like I just woke up hung over and immediately got punched in the gut. Such is the affect of “My Name is A” from writer/director Shane Ryan. “A” is loosely based on the real life thrill killing of nine year old Elizabeth Olten at the hands of fifteen year old Alyssa Bustamante in 2009. I say loosely because the murder is a small part of the film. Ryan chooses instead to focus in on several different depictions of teenage angst that may have been contributing factors to this or many other senseless crimes.
Much like Larry Clark’s controversial 1995 film “Kids”, “My name is A” gives us gritty, gut wrenching glimpses of depraved youth heading down paths of self destruction and violence. All of this is presented in such an eerie dreamlike way that I felt uneasy for much of the film and even had the instinct to look away a handful of times. You could use the old “Train wreck” analogy in that I did not enjoy the things I saw, but I could not look away.
I am not familiar with Ryan’s work, but can tell you from this sample that he is a very capable director who should be given a budget to work with sooner rather than later. I also have to give the cast equal praise. Every actor involved nailed their performance, making the film feeling disturbingly real. Considering the youth and inexperience of most of the cast, that is quite impressive to say the least. Katie Marsh in particular is creepily good as a narcissistic bully who keeps upping the anti in how deranged her actions are.
This is not a movie I would recommend for watching with your significant other or close friends (unless you have some really strange relationships). With that said, I would recommend it to horror fans, or fans of true crime stories, or even just fans of dark art house films. Just be warned it will probably mess with your head. I know it got to me… in a good way.